Thursday, October 30, 2008

More than Many Sparrows

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:6-7

One of the most difficult challenges of being a parent is watching your children struggle with their self-worth and value. When they begin their lives, tiny and swaddled, every breath a child takes is precious and every sign of growth and gain is celebrated. As they grow, they are in every thing a joy to their parents, no matter how difficult their sleep and feeding routines are. But when they go off to school, they are constantly contrasted against their peers, and often feel they have come up short. There are some children that achieve from the very beginning and are recognized as outstanding from the get-go by their teachers and classmates. I am not related to any of these people. I was never like that as a child. Most children want to be different somehow - better, more like someone else than themselves, stronger, prettier, thinner - the list is seemingly endless. Media has made comparison into a high stakes game and so challenges a young person's self-image even more. We barely make it to adulthood and many feel like failures. Many feel they have little or no value to themselves or to society.

Into this timeless and yet modern dilemma, Jesus breaths the word that parents want to say and that every child so desperately needs to hear. "Even the hairs of your head are all numbered." Your value is so great that even your ridiculously small details count to God. Jesus speaks for God who is perfect parent and Creator of all. All of creation is valued by God, but each human being has incredible value to God. The kid who never gets picked for the team, the girl who is teased because of her size and looks, the boy who can't keep up with the pack, the child who struggles every night with homework -these are exactly the ones whom God places extreme value on. You are precious and loved by God, he tells us. Something we all need to hear. Something that so many have never heard, and yet it is still true.

Today, I pray that I can live as one valued by God and that I can treat everyone I encounter today as a precious child of God. How easy it is to feel invisible in this world. How wonderful it might be if we treated ourselves and others as if we were priceless works of art. So today, I want to notice the great art and value around me in the faces I encounter. May we look on each other today with the eyes of a perfect parent - the God who loves us and who values every breath we take.

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