Message delivered to the Hi-C (youth group) on August 20, 2017
God created humanity to live in harmony with the world and each other. God intended for us to love one another and to treat one another with respect and dignity. But somewhere along the way, we have lost sight of that. This world has become a very different place.
Yes, we love those who are close to us and treat nicely those who are nice to us. But those who are different from us, who are not a part of “us”, we treat as outsiders, ignore them or are indifferent to them.
Today’s message from the Word reminds us of how God intended things to be, and how we should live.
There are two messages I see from today’s passage: (1) the first, about self-acceptance and belief that we belong; and (2) about looking out for those who are weaker than us.
“If the foot would say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.” (v.15)
We tend to be very insecure and question whether we belong. We always tend to look at our shortcomings. The verse says “because I am not a hand”. We tend to say “because I am not” very often.
“Because I am not smart”, “because I am not good looking”, “because I am not outgoing and popular”, and on it goes. Because I am not this, I don’t feel like I belong. But that belief is against everything God intended. God says that we DO belong. God says that what we see as a weakness is actually a strength.
Just because you don’t get the best grades doesn’t mean you’re worth less. It says nothing about your inherent worth. God has still given you a unique personality and unique set of gifts that is meant to be a blessing to others. We just have to believe and trust God that this is the case.
God has arranged the members of the body, each of them, as he chose. (v.18) God has created you for a reason, to contribute to humanity in a way that only you can. Whether it’s making people smile, or showing compassion in a unique way, making people laugh, creating solutions for global problems – whatever it is, God has created you to be a unique blessing to this world. Our task is to personally listen for God’s voice and to then trust that voice.
It seems hard to do so at times, but if we quiet our hearts, then God will indeed speak to us. We will be exploring this topic in much more depth at the upcoming retreat.
Secondly, in God’s vision for humanity, we don’t glorify strength or power, but rather we honour and respect the weaker among us.
Isn’t that such a different message from what we see in the world?
“The members of the body that seem to be weaker are INDISPENSABLE, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with GREATER honour”. (v.23)
Those who are weaker, or less talented, or less smart – we don’t just tolerate their presence, but rather, we consider them to be indispensable. In other words, we need those around us who are different, who don’t adhere to our own standards for what is valuable. When one person suffers, we all suffer together with that person. When one is weak, we treat them with greater respect and lift them up.
This is the vision for our humanity. What a beautiful vision this is. And we need this vision more than ever in this world we live in.
My friends, in our church, in your schools, remember this message. We should never feel like we don’t belong to this world, because God has created you in such a unique way so that you can be a blessing to others. And instead of valuing power or popularity, we must always look to the needs of those who are weaker. We give them respect, dignity and we suffer together with them.
This is the true character of Christian leadership. May you be molded by God’s Spirit to become such people. With our own power, it is difficult to resist the call to follow power, money and popularity. But if we as individuals and a community seek God’s guidance, God will transform us to be such people.
This is the good news for us and this world today, that God calls us to be people of compassion and love.
God bless us all in this journey.