Monday, March 17, 2014

Feeling the Depth of their Worth

Today I sit at the Kennel (our Apache youth center) feeling confident about life. Its not that I have everything together or anything figured out, I just feel like God is in great control of it all. Its a good feeling to have, especially when each day brings new trials and new situations to overcome. As I sit here, watching all of these students hang out and my coworker John play carpetball (thanks to Zion Lutheran Church in Iowa! We love you guys!) I am spending some time thinking over who Jesus was and what his ministry looked like. (Because if there is any ministry you would want to emulate it should  obviously be Jesus's ministry. I went to seminary for that kind of knowledge :).

So. What I am reminded of was how Jesus interacted with people. I think he was probably pretty intense, and it does seem like he had a slightly snarky side (which makes me like him even better). He wasn't afraid to shoot straight and he never minced words. I don't really think Jesus was the soft-spoken blue-eyed man that movies portray him as. I think he was more of a, "Hey! Who just touched me? Seriously, who touched my cloak?" kinda guy. At any rate, thinking of him as a rather intense fellow, I started thinking about what made him appealing. What made people become drawn to him (other than the whole Son of God thing which is obviously of utmost importance)? Why did people like the leper, the tax collector, and the prostitute love him so dearly?

I think the answer lies in this: Jesus made people feel like they were worth something, even those who thought they deserved to be hated. He made them feel the depth of their value. These people, those considered to be outsiders, probably figured that they deserved to be ostracized and disliked, but Jesus came around and told them that they were worthy. They were worth his time. They were worth his words and his efforts. They were worthy of being loved, of sitting down with for dinner. And that, I think, was more important than anything else. With Jesus, as intense and straightforward as he was, they felt like they had value because he showed them that they were worthy of his time.  

"Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you."

So I sit here hoping to follow in the footsteps of the man I call my Savior. I tie the softball cleats of my sophomores, I listen to their stories, their bad days, their joys, and I am reminded that my purpose at Apache Youth Ministries should follow in the same footsteps as my Lord Jesus Christ. I can't make these kids choose the right path or the right faith, but I can show them the great depth of their worth. I can dispel the lies that they are hated, disliked, or deserving of the life they are walking into. I can look them in the eyes and say that it is possible to turn their lives around, because I believe that they are worth the investment, the time, and the 4am phone calls. They are worth the sacrifices of my own life.

And it is in realizing that as I love them, so does Christ, that they will begin (I hope) to feel their incredible worth in the sight of God. It is following in the footsteps of Jesus that transformation can begin, with something as simple as time and attention.

So today is a good day. Because God is in control, no matter what, and I couldn't be more pleased to be a part of His mission among the White Mountain Apache. 

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