Once a month I go to Morningside. Morningside is an assisted living facility in the town where I live. I usually go with my dad and we have a little church service with the elderly people there. But dad was out of town this particular Sunday so I went by myself.
I went with a message I never shared.
A small group of elderly ladies came that Sunday. Ms. Peggy, Ms. Eloise, Ms. Margie, Ms. Ruth, and Ms. Kathleen.
Instead of sharing the message I had prepared, I sat down with them and asked them to share with me. I asked them lots of questions. What did they like to do? What jobs did they used to have? How many children? Grandchildren? Pets? Funny Stories?
I really enjoyed listening to them share their wonderful stories. Afterwards, Ms. Kathleen invited me to stay and have lunch with her. So I did. Then she invited me back to her room. She said she wanted to show me something.
When she opened the door to her room, what I saw left me standing there speechless. There were beautiful paintings hanging all over her walls. Not just any paintings-HER paintings. Paintings she had done through the years. Watercolor, colored pencil, oil. Several had blue ribbons hanging on them where she had won first prize awards at the county fair. I couldn’t believe her incredible talent. It blew me away!
As I drove home, I thanked the Lord for such a wonderful experience. It was a day I will not soon forget. I went intending to do one thing, but God had intended another. I went to speak, but this time it was more important that I listen. I went to give the message, but instead, the message was given to me.
I am realizing that more and more people are wondering, ‘Do I matter?’ Does anyone care about me? Tell me I’m good enough. Tell me I’m important. That I’m valuable. That I matter!’
Most people might not come right out and say it, but don’t we see it everywhere in so many faces? Think about it. One huge sign of this insecurity plaguing our society is how self-centered our culture has become. Selfies abound. Everyone is so eat up with themselves, their lives, their agendas. They don’t take the time to tune into others.
We all want our own platform. We want to be center stage. We fight for the microphone. We all want to have our say, our opinions, and our rights–by golly. But then we find ourselves on the platform we built, at center stage, holding the microphone, only to realize that there’s no one in the audience.
The auditorium is empty.
There are few who willingly sit in the audience. Few who take time to truly listen and validate others. Few who take time to enter into others’ lives and care. We are all too busy trying to validate ourselves. I do it too. I get caught up in this self-centered snare all the time. Oh but when I do, I miss so much beauty.
I miss the beautiful paintings of people’s lives on the walls all around me.
I realized that I had gotten a rare glimpse of that beauty that day at Morningside. I was able to step off my own platform for a little while and hand the mic to some others.
See, true fulfillment doesn’t come from building our own platforms, but from building others’. We are validated, not from validating ourselves, but from validating others.
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
It’s in taking time to listen. Asking questions. Encouraging others. Making others feel like they matter. Because others DO matter.
They matter to God.
The Lord and I have this thing. Whenever I see a beautiful sunset or another aspect of creation that I come across, I like to brag on Him. I tell Him how beautiful His creation is and how talented He is. There have been times when I’ve been busy running here and there and I’ll look up and glance at a sunset and suddenly I hear His sweet voice in my mind,
“Rachel, what do you think about My creation?”
Whenever I have that thought, I know it’s Him. And so I take time to stop and brag on Him.
At church a while back, while attending a mom’s Bible study called iMom, the leaders told us that we were going to do a mission project. The moms divided up into several groups and each group went to visit an assisted living facility and nursing home in the community. The goal was simple–love on the people there.
A few weeks later, back at iMom, they played a video of all the pictures and footage from our visits to the different nursing homes. It was so precious! The smiles. The laughter. The hugs. The beautiful wrinkled elderly faces. And as I watched, I heard His familiar whisper to my heart,
“Rachel, what do you think about My creation?”
I lost it. Tears starting flowing down my face.
In that moment, I realized something.
We matter! We matter to God!
He is so proud of His creation. Back in Genesis, when He created the world, and then mankind in His own image, He declared that it was very good.
WE are His masterpieces.
There may be many who feel like they have been forgotten and abandoned as they sit in the nursing homes and grow older, tired and weaker every day. But God has not forgotten them. He has not stopped loving them. He still has a purpose for their lives. They still matter to Him!
And there may be others who wonder if they matter who are sitting on the other side of this screen reading these words right now.
Please hear me and let this truth seep into your heart. YOU matter! YOU are important! Someone DOES care about you, for who you are, how you are, right where you are. You don’t have to prove yourself or be something or someone else.
You matter to God.
If you haven’t already, run to Him. Surrender your life to Him.
When we lose our lives in Him, that’s when we find life. Let’s give our platforms to Him and let Him have center stage in our lives. Then we can concentrate our efforts on building platforms for Him and others. Let’s make others matter! Then watch Him fill the auditorium.
See the beauty of the paintings of our lives are never in what WE create, but in what He creates through us. HE is what makes us beautiful! HE is what makes us valuable! HE is what makes us important!
HE makes us matter!
And He is very proud of His paintings. He loves to invite people over and show them off. He hangs His masterpieces all over His walls for the world to see.
And YOU are one of them!
“Lord, you asked me what I think about Your creation. You are an artist like no other! You are so incredibly gifted and talented! You create originals while everyone else just copies. I love Your creation! What a gift it is! I love that You see value in us, not because of what we look like, how many wrinkles we have, how old we are, or what we do or don’t do, but we matter to You because of WHO YOU ARE! Thank You for loving us the way You do! There is no God like our God! There is no God like YOU! Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of Your glory (Isaiah 6:3). In Jesus’ name, Amen.”