As I’m working on writing my fourth novel, starting a new trilogy on the topic of hope, I’ve been studying Johnny Enlow’s RISE teaching on bringing God’s kingdom into the 7 mountains of culture: government, business, education, religion, media, arts & entertainment, and family. As a teacher, I’ve been especially fascinated by his ideas on education.
Today one point that jumped out at me was when Johnny wrote that the student is always more important than the information. How many of us have had teachers who made us feel like our lack of mastery of the material made us sub-human and destined for an insignificant life? Hopefully all of us also had at least one teacher who lovingly modeled that the information was only important as it helped us move forward into a life of significance and destiny.
This reminds me of how God relates to His rules and to us. Have you ever felt that your lack of mastery of God’s rules put you on His naughty list and kept you trapped on the sidelines of life?
The reality is that Jesus declared, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) The person is always more important than the rules to God.
Or how about one of my absolute favorite Scriptures, the story of the woman caught in adultery? (John 8:1-11) Those who saw the rules as most important wanted to stone her; Jesus talked to her as a person needing his mercy.
I had an opportunity to practice what I was learning recently as someone threatened me with a lawsuit regarding something I’d mistakenly posted on my blog and promptly removed over a year ago. At first I was shocked by the person’s aggressive and unreasonable demands. I went to the Prayer Room and spent some time discussing it with God. His word to me was that the person was more important than the negotiations. Jesus’ command to “love your enemies” isn’t about Americans trying not to hate ISIS who live far away—it’s about loving the people around us who don’t treat us the way we’d like.
Our negotiations lasted about two months, because I was in no hurry. I needed time to pray for the person each day and ask God what I could share to help them return to His path of significance and destiny for their life. I have no idea if anyone else was praying for them, but at least for this season they got one faith-filled intercessor on their side. I hope I was just the voice they needed at the time they needed it.
I’m writing this in the midst of a busy Christmas season. Is it just me, or can the holidays bring out the worst in us? Could we take a moment to prepare our hearts for all the people we’ll meet this Christmas? How beautiful it would be if we could remember that the overwhelmed cashier is more important than the mistake on our bill; the mother juggling packages and a crying baby in the post office line is more important than the delay to our packed schedule; our impossible-to-please relative is more important than our desire for a “perfect” Christmas.
Perhaps a moment when we make them feel important again is the gift they really need.
Remember that God sent His Son to us at Christmas not because we were well-informed or well-behaved, but because in spite of us being NOT well-informed or well-behaved, He chose to love us anyway. He chose to see each and every one of us as precious, significant, diamonds-in-the-rough, people with a glorious destiny.
Now it’s our turn to see the same in all the people we’ll meet this Christmas.