Saturday, October 28, 2006

Infinite Value

When I was in seminary, I had a professor of evangelism and church growth named Dr. Russ Jones that was wonderful. He taught will passion, and he had a lot of practical advice on leading churches. One time, he shared with us, he was visiting with a person skeptical about the Christian faith. This person asked him to put in one sentence what the Christian faith was all about. My friend responded, "The Christian faith is about the infinite value of each human being to a loving God." I thought that was very well said, so much so that I remember it to this day.

The Bible tells a story. And the story is about a shepherd. The shepherd brought his sheep to the destination he was heading to, and he realized that there was one sheep left behind. So the shepherd left the rest of the sheep to fend for themselves while he went and looked for the one lost sheep. This passage has always frustrated and confounded me. Why is he leaving all these other sheep unguarded? Why does he value one sheep so much? And the answer I came to is the answer that I also heard from my professor. We like the sheep have infinite value to God. God will go to almost any length to draw us to himself.

In Ephesians 5:1 we are told to be "imitators of God, as dearly loved children." Many times when we hear this we hear this as a call to purity and holiness. In part communicated by the WWJD drive a couple of years ago, we see being imitators of Jesus as a call to ethical living. Indeed, that is a very important part of the message of what it means to walk in Jesus footsteps.

However, if we are to be apprentices to Jesus, and we believe that Dr. Jones is right, than a big part of doing what Jesus did is to communicate to people that they have infinite value in God's sight. We need to communicate this in the words that we speak to spiritual seekers, and to one another. As a matter of fact, we are called to commuicate this truth in all that we do or say.


Brownsoul said...

Interesting. I guess that's what it means to be partakers in His divine nature.

rubyslipperlady said...

I don't know that I've been doing a very good job of this lately.

Thanks for the encouragement, my friend.