Josiah wanted to learn to play the trumpet, but I wasn’t going to let him “try” to learn on my instrument. Instead, we rented a much less valued horn for him to practice on, only to find out that at that time he didn’t have the discipline to put the time and effort in to learn how to play. My Silver King Flair is in a protected case, and the case is a great dust collector. The contents of that case is only as valuable as I see it to be. To anyone else, it’s just another horn.
As a church, God has called us to be actively involved in the lives of people here in the Brainerd Lakes Area as well as the Park Raids area, and really, around the world. What value do we really put on those people?
For those who are regular attenders of our churches, we tend to place a higher value. We tend to work a bit harder at meeting their needs and taking care of them. We do that because we see each other as family.
But we are also called to care for the needs of those around us. To “Love our neighbor as ourselves.” Jesus set a great example of this for us, and just one of the many glimpses that we get of Him doing that is found in Matthew 4:23.
"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people."
When most people had an encounter with Jesus, they went away feeling valued. Now, I don’t think the c did much of the time, but if anyone should have known better, it was them, and Jesus confronted them on it.
But look at the sinners and tax collectors, the women at the well, the women caught in adultery that the Pharisees wanted to stone, or the prostitute that Jesus helped lead out of that lifestyle.
Think about this, when people think about you, do they say to themselves, "My life is better because of that person"? Their response probably answers the question of whether you are adding value to them. To succeed personally, you must try to help others. That's why Zig Ziglar says, "You can get everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want."
We do a lot of things well as a church. There are a lot of things that we can get better at doing too. We can do a pretty good job at times of valuing others, but we can do a better job at that too.
When people know that they are valued, they tend to stick around. When people feel valued, they feel accepted, and when they feel accepted, they feel loved.
In what ways do we really help people feel valued? Again, I think we do a great job of that for those who are a part of our church family. We can do better. However, I don’t think we do a very good job of that with those outside of our church family, specifically, those whom God has called us to reach out to.
This year, I’d like for us to put an emphasis on valuing our neighbors.
When we have an encounter with people in our communities, here in Brainerd and in Park Rapids, will they be able to respond, “My life is better because of the people that are apart of Community of Hope Church of the Nazarene?”
How do you do that as an individual and how do we do that as a church collectively? How can you and how can we turn our focus from yourself or ourselves, and start adding value to others?
You / We can do it by:
1. Putting others first in our thinking.
2. Finding out what others need.
3. Meeting that need with excellence and generosity.
I truly believe that if we can focus on that this year, then we will be more active in living out being an Acts 1:8 kind of church.
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
The result of that will be, Acts 2:47, And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Think about this, when people think about you, do they say to themselves, "My life is better because of that person"? Let’s value what we do, so that others will sense the value that God places on them. And to Him, they are priceless.