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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JUNE 15, 2020

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Exodus 19:3b-6, where the Bible says,

The Lord called to [Moses] out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

WHOSE EARTH IS IT? WHOSE LIFE IS IT?


John Orteber said, “There is such a love that creates value in what is loved. There is a love that turns rag dolls into priceless treasures. There is a love that fastens itself onto ragged little creatures, for reasons that no one could ever quite figure out, and makes them precious and valued beyond calculation. This is a love beyond reason. This is the love of God. This is the love with which God loves you and me.”[1] I can attest to that fact, both in reference to the priceless value of mere “rag dolls,” as well as to the undeserved value that repentant sinners receive because of the love that God has for us all in Christ.

When I was young, my grandmother always made a Raggedy-Ann or a Raggedy-Andy Doll for each one of her grandchildren. It was as a gift for becoming part of the family. She sewed each one with her own hands, hands that were a bit gnarled from age and arthritis. In spite of that, the attention to detail was meticulous; each stitch made was made out of her love for us.  And every one of us grandchildren, boys included, were proud to have those dolls in our rooms, even as we got older. Why? They were a sign of how much our grandmother thought of us, how much she loved us. And even when those dolls became more raggedy than usual, we wouldn’t have sold them for any price. They were priceless because of who made them and what message they conveyed in our lives. Each one of them was an enduring testimony of a love that richly blessed us.

In a similar way, our own value and worth are priceless, not because of who we are, but because of the One who loves us. The God who fashioned our lives as our Creator went one better. When we rebelled against His love and His law, when we decided to exchange our created worth for a sinful, self-centered worthlessness, God demonstrated a value for us that flowed from His mercy. Such a worth comes directly from His willingness to send His own Son to live, die, and rise again for us. He thereby reconciled us to Himself so that we might again live as we were created and redeemed to be.

When God told the Old Testament people of Israel, “All the earth is mine” (because He created it), it was to remind them that He had the authority to say everything else in today’s reading. His authoritative Word reminded them of their great worth as the people He had delivered from bondage in Egypt. It also reminded them of their role as God’s liberated people. They were to live in this world as His “redeemed ones” so that others could receive that same status by grace as well. After all, it’s His earth; life itself is His; and He wants you to have life forever with Him.

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus told His disciples much the same thing. He said that ALL authority in heaven and earth had been given to Him. Why? To authoritatively empower and direct His disciples to bring that empowering identity to all who would put their trust in Him. Such a message continues to bless lives to this day.  

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, it sometimes makes us afraid to hear that all authority in the whole world is Yours, for the very earth is Yours. But that fear subsides when we see how You put that authority into action in order to save us through the cross. May we use the authority that we have been given in this world to serve those whom You bring into our lives so that they too might know You as Savior. AMEN.

 

[1] https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon-illustrations/20162/there-is-such-a-love-that-creates-value-in-what-by-steve-malone?ref=TextIllustrationDetails

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