What do you think you’re worth? How do you decide that? There are a lot of things in life that make it easy to feel like we don’t matter. Over the next couple weeks, let’s think about whether we do matter, who we matter to, and why.This week let’s look at what other people say:
About the apostles and early Christians
After a Sunday sermon, most preachers stand near the door and talk to people as they leave. Do you ever hear people tell the preacher what they thought about the lesson?
I do. Usually it’s a compliment. Sometimes it’s not. But it’s usually nicer than the reaction the apostles got to the first sermon about the gospel.
Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.” – Acts 2:13
Yikes! Imagine walking out the front door, shaking your preacher’s hand, and telling him his lesson sounded so outlandish he must be drunk. That’s a little harsh. So did the apostles hang their heads, decide they were crazy, and stop? No. They kept on going because they believed what God had told them.
What about going around and talking about having your preacher killed? It happened to Saul. It’s not something we have to deal with much in the United States today, but in some countries it’s a fact of life.
Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. – Acts 9:23
God had plans for Paul, though, so he kept on preaching. That didn’t mean everybody liked him.
But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. – Acts 13:50
Paul and Barnabas were telling people about Jesus and how much He loves us, and they kept getting in trouble for it. The people kicked them out because of it. I’m glad that today we don’t usually have to move because of our faith.
Why was all this happening? Because what they were preaching was changing lives. And when lives change, communities can change. Which can change states and countries. The people who had power didn’t want to lose it.
But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. – Acts 17:6
The same thing can happen today. Our country needs God desperately. But you can’t just send crop dusters across thousands of miles and hundreds of cities and pour religion out of an airplane. Change has to start with people. In the movie Justice League, do you remember what Batman told Flash? “Save one.” That’s how it starts.
We’ve established that the apostles weren’t loved by everybody. All but one of them was killed for their faith. What about Jesus? We know in the end He was crucified, but He went through so much before that.
And many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?” – John 10:20
You really can’t get much worse than saying that Jesus was teaching what He did because He was demon possessed.
People still talked bad about Him while He was being crucified. They were in the process of killing Him, but that wasn’t enough. They kept on mocking Him.
And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” – Mark 15:29-30
He could have done it. He could have called hundreds of angels to come and rescue Him. He could have killed everyone there on the spot.
But He didn’t.
People aren’t always going to have nice things to say about us, either. People may say all kinds of things about why we believe the Bible. Maybe that we’ve been brain washed and are in a cult. I’ve heard those things. Jesus warned the apostles about this.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:11-12
We aren’t promised that people will like us. Actually, if we’re living the way God wants us to, a lot of people won’t. But Jesus gives us a promise: that if we are faithful, we’ll be blessed for it.
It’s hard to jump up and down and celebrate when someone says something mean. But if it’s for a good reason, we can be glad about it. If nobody ever talks bad about us, shouldn’t that scare us a little? Maybe it means we aren’t letting our lights shine as bright as we could.
Let’s make sure we aren’t basing what we are worth on what other people say.
How about you? Does what people say about you affect how you feel about yourself?
May the Lord bless and keep you,