Isaiah 43.1-13; Galatians 3.10-14
Me? I’m no-one special worse probably. This Kiwi attitude of humility can be a real blockage for talent. Some of the worst tall poppy trimming happens in our own lives – which is sad because so many talented people are limited by their own inner critic. They want you to praise their efforts, but if you do they’ll show everything that’s wrong with what they did. Nobody wants to be a “bighead”.
When this attitude show up in Christian people, especially in churches it’s particularly sad. They are believing a lie when they say that they’re no-one special, that their efforts, their risk-taking is of no great moment.
While were equals, we are in fact equally significant and special. We’re important to how this world runs, to how this faith gets out and about in our part of the world at least. God’s view of us is very different to this over-emphasised humility.
God says you matter to Him in no uncertain terms in Isaiah 43. First He reminds us that we’re fashioned out of the ingenious, creative and compassionate heart of God, the Creator. Surprisingly perhaps we were formed into the image of God, precisely for the purpose of fellowship, with God, with each other and with this wide and beautiful world in which we live and move. In God’s purpose we were perfect, precious and full of purpose – and when we were lost we were sought after.
Still, you might argue, there’s an awful lot of creatures created, why should I think of myself as special. No-one special? You are bought at a great price (simply because you are already loved and treasured). Our self-awareness often insists that something is wrong with us, that we’re building up a debt of sin, of stupidity, of shame. However in Christ, at God’s initiative, that something wrong has been wiped from the slate of our imagined debtedness, totally paid for by the death and rising of Jesus, Saviour and Lord. God knows you by name, and counts you as worth dying for! So we are now God’s – belonging to Him. Another way to say this is that we are now HIs problem.
God promises that He is with us through everything that we encounter in this imperfect and sometimes scary world. He will let none of those things to destroy us – nothing can drown you completely or consume you. God as Redeemer takes the role of rescuer very seriously in your case.
Being built into a community of the redeemed is how God strengthens us, and grows as we encounter the diversity of ways in which one can live as redeemed, and part of the community of the redeemed. We each belong, because of the same grace of the same God, and because of the love being shown us in the context of a community where all carry this astonishing mark of being loved into new life. In this reality God shows HIs glory in changed and transformed lives with an amazing power and will to change the world in which this community finds itself. If you can imagine it, God boasts about us to the heavens just as He did with Job
Later God says that we are the servant He has chosen to make His being known – His beauty, His power, His enduring love, His uniqueness. It’s not just that there is no God like Him, Isaiah asserts that there is actually no other God, just as there is only One who can save. Everything else is just illusion and hard work to no great end.
By our choices, preoccupations, words and actions we make the Saviour known; in our acts of compassion and kindness we reveal the true nature of God as One who aches to save and rescue the lost out of passionate love. We the servant community are to reflect His sacrificial service of the lost, the least, and the last.
So what? Do you see these people around you? Do you remember those who have walked with us at various times, and those people who attend the varied and even strange churches of Thames? They are all the community of the redeemed, each one of them – the boring and the weird, the wild and the staid, the stable and the wobbly – they’re all redeemed, precious and loved by God. Each of them and their distinctive communities are expression of the wideness of God’s mercy.
Love them! God does. And in loving them we will astonish those who are on the fringes seeing whether we can live up to what we proclaim. Love them, too. God does because He knows it’s the only thing that’ll get them to this blessed place where we are.
It we’re redeemed by the King of all Creation, then we have great significance, and no cause to fear anyone or anything. This week try at least one thing that you’ve been putting off or running away from because “I’m no-one special”. God calls you significant and He calls you to be kind with a purpose, however that looks for you and your world.
Let’s take a moment of silence to reflect on God’s words to us this morning – whether it was in anything I said, or something different you heard.