You Are A Somebody! … Hello Hump Day readers. I hope this devotion reminds you how much God loves you! I know this is a common saying, “did you know God loves you” – but it’s so much more. It means you matter to God, it means you are indeed a Somebody to God!
The reason I chose this devotion was yet another encounter I had where I know deep in my heart God was teaching me something. It happened in Yuma, AZ, where I was teaching an Adult VBS 3-day gathering. BTW—vacation bible school is definitely not just for kids!!
While Al was filling up the Suburban at a Circle K, I went inside to get a coffee. I set my small wallet next to my phone and began my morning Java boost. A very tall man to my left said, “ma’am, I could’ve snatched that wallet before you knew it was gone and be out of here.” His words caught me off-guard. I gulped, not knowing what to say until the Holy Spirit spoke through me, “but you didn’t, did you? Why?” (Honestly, it would be nice if the Spirit let me know what she’s up to so I’m not caught “off-guard!”)
He had a broad smile on his face when he replied, “cuz I found Jesus. For years I was a nobody, robbing and cheating folks. I went to jail a lot then finally to prison. One day the warden told us we finally got a new chaplain and church would start up again. I snorted at the thought somebody would want to help a nobody. But I went and I know to this day it was God’s that I did that. And that’s where I found Jesus and it has forever changed my life.”
By this time, people gathering to get coffee had heard most of the story. I went to check-out and was behind a gal who was flustered and late for work. The cashier was kind in helping her, and was ready for her to pay when the lady said, “Oh no, I don’t have my purse!” to which the tall man now in line behind me said with a smile, “I know I don’t have it” that made me and the others smile almost “out loud.” Then the lady cried out: “Oh, no, I left it in my car!” The cashier wasn’t upset, she told her to go get it and she would use the other cash register for those in line. I paid for my coffee and while walking out to the vehicle I almost shouted out loud: “God, really—you did it again right in the middle of a Circle K?!”
I share this with you because I truly believe that is why God orchestrates these kinds of moments. I wrestled with a few words that man said: “I was a nobody.” That hurts my heart deeply. When someone says that you know they have little to no self-esteem or worth, and living that way is a life-long painful struggle.
This episode took me to a favorite book by Josh McDowell & Ben Bennett, Free To Thrive. It was written to encourage people, especially young people, that whether you are regarded as somebody or nobody in your family, job, school, or church, you are somebody to God. Josh wrote: “Whether you achieve great or small things, your infinite worth and value to God are undiminished. God thinks highly of you and wants you to see yourself as God sees you. He wants you to live a life of spiritual, emotional, and relational wholeness—a thriving life.”
In other words, God does want you to think highly of yourself—but this isn’t about conceit or patting yourself on the back. The Bible reminds us how we should think of ourselves in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans 12:3, using The Voice translation: “Because of the grace allotted to me, I can respectfully tell you not to think of yourselves as being more important than you are; devote your minds to sound judgment since God has assigned to each of us a measure of faith.”
God tells us that we should not have a low view of ourselves. Instead, we need an accurate view, and I think that man at the Circle K experienced this because of the prison ministry he attended. We need a healthy self-image and the only way to get that is to focus on how God sees us, which begs the question, “How does God see each of us?” God says that you are of infinite worth; you are loved and unique. This isn’t something you ‘wish’ for and ‘self-help’ won’t work. Neither are worthless cliché’s: “get over it – pull yourself up by your bootstraps – quit being so lazy – just think happy thoughts and all will be fine.”
Understanding ourselves means we must embrace the truth of God and a right understanding of what God says about us. In Isaiah 55:8-9 we read: The Lord says: “My thoughts and my ways are not like yours. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, my thoughts and my ways are higher than yours.” When we surrender our thoughts about ourselves to God’s thoughts we gain wisdom and understand about who we are and Whose we are.
Insurance company actuaries annually calculate a person’s “worth” in dollars for planning both loss and profit! In 2018, Time magazine wrote a column putting the value of an average human life at $129,000 from their statistics. Likewise, we do the same thing to ourselves. McDowell wrote “We accept a person’s criticism or compliment as our standard. We measure our value based on our success or failure, our looks, or our status.”
Your value isn’t derived from anything you have done or can do. You are of great value because that’s who our loving God created you to be. Your value cannot be determined by other people—not even yourself! When you are feeling like a nobody, read King David’s words from Psalm 139 and be reminded of how precious you are to God:
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out-you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.
-Verses 14-16 from The Message Bible