Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Don’t worry, we’re all valued by God

I HAVE been captured by goldfinches nesting in conifer trees quite close to my kitchen window. These small birds have the most striking colours with red around the face set against strong white and black streaks down the body and of course gold along their wings. Two of these goldfinches have been darting back and forth, first building a nest, then caring for their young. It is delightful watching them.

I have also been captured and shocked by the news that appeared on my phone the other day that Mike Thalassitis, or “Muggy Mike” as he was known, had died at the age of 26.

Reports suggest he found the negative social media reaction to his time and actions on Love Island too much to bear and he took his own life. Metro reported that 38 people have “died by suicide” after finding reality TV fame as stars.

Something is clearly wrong here and although these celebrities are from Australia, the US, Asia and the UK, the numbers are horrendous.

Apparently, the Love Island producer now insists that all islanders meet with a therapist whether they ask for one or not.

Has our modern society lost its bearings and value system? We are appalled at the Roman gladiator battles where human beings fight it out to the death but are content to watch reality shows where, after a painful relational break-up, stars are subjected to torrents of hate mail on social media posts and end up taking their own lives.

The state of celebrity is the new idol. People find their value in how others rate them. Success now seems to be achieved by good looks, achieving celebrity fame, being super popular, acquiring the top grades in an exam or creating a business that brings in the millions.

All these things place people under stress and pressure that almost always results in disappointment, failure and often much darker outcomes.

However, if you find your value in who you are, just being alive and breathing, being kind and generous, then you have a much better starting place.

Other things we achieve and build in our lives are then a bonus. This view was clearly taught by Jesus and millions follow it.

The reference to nesting goldfinches earlier now becomes relevant. Matthew records Jesus as saying, “Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them”.

Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Jesus was teaching us through this illustration that you could have a relationship with God as a good loving father and know you are of great value to him. We often tell people: “God loves and values you and has a great plan for your life.”

For me that’s a great building block to build your life on. When life gets tough and things don’t work out and you don’t seem to be appreciated by others, you can always be assured that you are valued, loved and there is a plan God is working on for your life.

Can I encourage you to be part of a growing number of people that instead of placing all their value on achievement, place far more of their value in who they are created to be? They are valued for just being themselves.

If fathers and mothers, teachers at school, college and university and bosses in their places of work taught these values, then perhaps greater ambition and achievement would result, levels of stress would come down, mental health would improve and many fewer would take their own lives.

Even after people have committed awful crimes and end up with prison sentences, we need to let them know they are still valued, that change is still possible and there could be a new plan for their lives.

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