Shallow or Valued?
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Matthew 13:3-8
Shallow…that’s what they thought…what they said. But the truth was they didn’t know me at all. They were content to only see the surface and label me with a broad generalization. It has happened to me more than once in my life and it never fails to sting a little. If you have ever been misjudged, falsely accused, or categorized, you know what I mean.
When I was younger, I cared so much what others thought of me that I would do or say just about anything – including lying, if I thought it would help – to make people like me. The problem with that is, when people know that about you, they have no respect or regard for you anyway, and after a while they stop believe just about anything you say. I was nice, bubbly and friendly, but that will only get you so far; that will get you labeled as shallow. I didn’t realize until much later that, no matter what I did, not everyone was going to like me. It only made sense because I didn’t naturally like everyone I met either, but I tried to treat everyone as I wanted them to treat me, regardless of how I felt about them. That, too, will only take you so far, and can even carry its own label: disingenuous, more commonly known as fake.
The real epiphany came one day when I was telling God how worthless I felt. I didn’t respect myself and didn’t think anyone else did either. I finally cried, “God, if I have any value to you, please show me what it is. All I seem to be able to do is screw things up!”
Quietly, but firmly, He immediately spoke into my soul, “You are so valuable to me that I sent my son to the cross to save your life. Is that enough?”
Can I just say, that got my attention! I immediately felt chastised, humbled and dearly loved all at the same time…and that truth sank down deep into the soil of my soul, spread its roots, and has become a beautiful flowering plant of joy and love that will bloom eternally in my heart.
The opinion of others no longer has the power over me that it once did because now I know who I am. I am a child of God, a daughter of the Most High King, beloved, treasured, highly valued and redeemed at a great price. My Savior, Jesus Christ, actually gave his life in exchange for mine…that should count for something, right? On those days when I feel worthless, dejected or depressed, knowing He loves me so much…knowing that I was so valuable to Him that He would take all of that abuse, suffer every sin, sickness, heartache, regret and anguish I have ever felt, and carry all of that to the very bowels of Hell so no accuser could ever stand against me…that tells me how very valuable my life is to Him. He was victorious over sin, death, and yes, even Hell. He was willing to suffer all of that for me, in addition to bearing it in His own human strength without the help of His Father at the moment of his greatest need, because God’s perfection could not look upon Him when He was covered in our sins. That is some powerful stuff, and it’s all I need to know.
So when people label me, misunderstand me, misjudge me, turn their backs on me, or malign me – including myself! - I can smile and still wish them a good day. Later on, I will take it to Him, the One who really counts, and He will dry my tears, calm my fears and melt away every insecurity into nothingness. While I allowed the misjudgment of others to change me for a time, I’m back to being who God created me to be…and that person is, for the most part, joyful and friendly. Why shouldn’t I be? I am loved by an awesome God …and so are you.
Prayer: Father, Help me be the "deeper soil"...help me to be faithful as You mold my character so that when the hard times come I will be able to endure and persevere in the face of any oppression, opposition or temptation that the enemy might throw at me, strengthened because I know who I am through the blood of Jesus Christ. I praise you, love you, worship and adore you. I rest in you and give you my life this day to use as you see fit. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for the privilege of being your child. In Jesus' precious name I pray, amen.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:12