Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Our Daily Bread devotional, November 15, 2016 - Do I Matter?


Topic: Do I Matter? [November 15, 2016]

Read: Ecclesiastes 1:1–11, Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 1–2; Hebrews 11:1–19

[Christ Jesus] made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant. Philippians 2:7

I stand in the cashier line of the local supermarket and look around me. I see teenagers with shaved heads and nose rings looking through the snack foods; a young professional buying one steak, a few twigs of asparagus, and a sweet potato; an elderly woman pondering the peaches and strawberries. Does God know all these people by name? I ask myself. Do they really matter to Him?

The Maker of all things is the Maker of all human beings, and each of us is deemed worthy of His individual attention and love. God demonstrated that love in person on the gnarly hills of Israel and ultimately on the cross.

When Jesus visited earth in the form of a servant, He showed that the hand of God is not too big for the smallest person in the world. It is a hand engraved with our individual names and engraved also with wounds, the cost to God of loving us so much.

Now, when I find myself wallowing in self-pity, overwhelmed by the ache of loneliness that is articulated so well in books like Job and Ecclesiastes, I turn to the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s stories and deeds. If I conclude that my existence “under the sun” (Eccl. 1:3) makes no difference to God, I contradict one of the main reasons God came to earth. To the question Do I matter? Jesus is indeed the answer.

Prayer: Father, when we are overwhelmed by the ache of loneliness and pain, we can run only to You. Jesus showed us how much we matter to You, and we thank You!

The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  Jesus

Insight:

The author of Ecclesiastes seemed to go on a scavenger hunt for value through pleasure (2:1–3), projects (vv. 4–7), wealth (vv. 7–8), sex (v. 8), and fame (v. 9)—only to find it is meaningless. In some ways Ecclesiastes parallels Old Testament law. Even as the law shows us we can’t keep the law (and so we need a Savior in Jesus), Ecclesiastes shows us that apart from God’s vantage point, we will only end in frustration and futility (and so we need a satisfier in Jesus). If we restrict ourselves to seeking meaning as circumscribed by life “under the sun,” it would be like seeking a plank in the wide ocean. We are not restricted to happenstance “under the sun,” for God has spoken to us in His Son (Heb. 1:1–2). Jesus is God’s Son; therefore, listen to him” (Luke 9:35). People matter to God, for we are more than mere matter.

This message was written by Philip Yancey [Our Daily Bread Ministries.]

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