Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. 1 John 2:15-16 (MSG)
God wants us to love one another! I had the privilege of having lunch with a sister who is new to the area and new to the church. We spent time getting to know each other and musing about where God has us right now. It was very obvious to me that we are two very different people who have intersected on the same path. A cascade of thoughts led me to see that we are both gems in God’s eyes. But I am a diamond and she is a pearl.
There are many of us who grew up in the era of re-engineering and on the mantra of “do more with less.” We flew the coup at 18, got a college degree, and turned pro. We chased our dreams, pursued our careers, followed our first minds, raised our children, tracked our accomplishments, and leaned in to be all that we could be. We hit the ground running and have not ever slowed down. We pride ourselves on shining the brightest because we have done so much while under tremendous pressure. We are the diamonds of our day.
He knows our value is driven by our rarity. As we gain seasoning, we come to realize the significance and the worth of our uniqueness. Other factors that affect our value are easily remembered as the four Cs:
- Color – We are known to keep a cool head even in the face of adversity because the spirit is with us.
- Clarity – We know well the shallow nature of knowledge and information. Through our experiences, we strive to learn to see things through the Father’s viewpoint and respond according to scriptural principles. We started out believing in this: 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As it says in the book of Job, God uses man’s own brilliance to trap him; he stumbles over his own “wisdom” and falls. 20 And again, in the book of Psalms, we are told that the Lord knows full well how the human mind reasons and how foolish and futile it is. (1 Cor. 3:19-20 – TLB) And have since learned this: 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is pure. That’s the most important thing about it. And that’s not all. It also loves peace. It thinks about others. It obeys. It is full of mercy and good fruit. It is fair. It doesn’t pretend to be what it is not. (James 3:17 – NIRV)
- Cut – Although we are as flawed or fractured as the next persons, it is our cracks that allow light to shine through; the thing that gives us our greatest value to His people.
- Carat weight – Bigger is not always better, but we seek to be worth our weight in Godly wisdom.
He built some of our sisters to bear different talents. They go about life, seemingly in a shell, living in the moment and embracing the production of one thing at a time. They don’t spend energy multi-tasking or doing the things that create the pressures that made us. They understand the beauty that can be made from a single grain of sand when it is surrounded by suppleness and gentility. They have learned that size doesn’t matter. They know that when there are lots of small heavenly treasures, each aligned perfectly so that light passing along the axis of one is reflected and refracted by the other to produce a tapestry of light and color, they have love. Their nacre is not just a soothing substance, it is what surrounds them. It is their community and they enjoy its people. They are the pearls of their day.
A gem is a naturally occurring material desirable for its beauty, valuable in its rarity, and sufficiently durable to give lasting pleasure. In all of our wanting, He has brought us together to help each other walk this path to eternity, while uniquely shimmering and shining light for others to see. By living out our lives with each other, the magnetism of our opposing poles brings us closer together in Him. The pressure of one and shell of the other illustrates and illuminates that so frequently the waters we wade in swell from the storms in our lives. When the tide rises, we question God’s faithfulness as we wonder if He will let us drown. Rather than standing up on the bedrock of faith with the confidence that He is with us and will save us when we call on His holy name, we give up as we set ourselves adrift in the murkiness and darkness of the heavy wake. And then along comes His servants beside us to be His countenance in the face of difficulty. They reach out their scarred hands and bring us in. They tell us their harrowing stories of near death experiences and how they too were rescued by His ambassadors. They feed us and warm us, then teach us and lead us to the foot of the cross. In the right season, they meet us on this journey of life as they pray for us until we choose to believe in Him on our own. They baptize us in His name and fast for us just the same. They cheer for us as we gallop through the Garden of Eden and they weep for us as we are dragged through the Garden of Gethsemane. They love us and show us we are not alone. They meet with us and talk through issues with us, yet never breach a single bit of trust we placed in them. Through them we learn: When private is not secret; When hugging is not holding back; When frankness delivers forgiving words; When His light shines through their cracks; When holding hands helps someone to hold on; When quiet knows the voice of reason; When we step outside our comfort zone, until He brings stillness to this season.
Caleb Colton once said, “Times of great calamity and confusion have been productive for the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace. The brightest thunder-bolt is elicited from the darkest storm.” Each gem is impacted by its environment. We were each naturally formed by Him and given a path that leads back to Him, if we choose to follow it. Once committed to it, we have a duty to bring all that we are because (as New Hope has taught): “Found People Find People; Saved People Serve People; Connected People Grow; Growing People Change; and Devoted People Give.” By working together, these values show.
God uses the mundane and the incredible that occurs in our everyday lives to teach us lessons and to hone our gifts to be used as blessings in the lives of others. Tell me what good God has done for you today? Are you lost or looking for others? Are you serving, connecting, or growing? What have you given of yourself in His name lately? When was the last time you reached out for someone or gave thanks for the same having been done for you? Whether you are a diamond or a pearl or a gem of another sort, we are not our own when we serve Him. My prayer for us today is: Lord, may we always want what You want for us and see what You see in others. May we always be willing to give to Your children to help bring them home while keeping us close to You. Please continue to provide us opportunities to share our gifts, embrace our differences, be blessings, and love Your people. In our lifetime, may we discover as many gems as possible and bring them to You for Your glory, teaching each other not to want of the world but to hunger and thirst for You. It is in Your Son’s name I pray this- Amen
I know I need You. I need to love You. I’d love to see You but it’s been so long. I long to feel You. I feel this need for You. I need to hear You. Is that so wrong? Tenth Avenue North – Times