As I read the Gospels, one fact is undeniable to me—Jesus valued people. Over and over He allowed Himself to be stopped, inconvenienced, and used by the people around Him.
There was the time He retreated to a mountain hideout for some much needed rest only to be chased down by a crowd of needy seekers. What did Jesus do? He healed them. Then there was the time He was literally on his way to heal a sick girl when another woman grabbed His robe and got His attention. He stopped and tended to her need. There was the time He went way out of His way to heal a demon-possessed man that others saw as a lost cause. Oh, and there were the children Jesus urged to come to Him even though they seemed to pull Him away from His many ministry responsibilities . . .
To be honest, the fact that Jesus always seemed to make time for others doesn’t always sit well with me. That’s because valuing people isn’t one of my strong suits. I tend to elevate tasks and schedules and crossing items off of my to-do lists. These things fit nicely into the boxes I draw for how I want my life to look. In contrast, valuing people requires much of my time and energy. It’s often messy. It rarely sticks to a schedule.
Valuing people means adopting an overt willingness to be inconvenienced. It means doing things that cannot be measured. It means developing relationships based on who people really are and not who we want them to be.
My son, Eli, had a meltdown recently because we had other families over to our house, and they messed up his room. Just that morning he had spent hours making his room neat and tidy. I was trying to explain the value of sharing, friendship, and hospitality (this writer momma can be a little wordy!) when my husband simply said, “Son, people are more important than our stuff.”
That’s what valuing people looks like. It means accepting a dirty house because people have been loved, cared for, and entertained within the walls of your home. It means accepting a schedule in flux because you are determined to make time for others whenever necessary. It means considering the tasks on your to-do list less important than the people you’re doing them for. It means measuring success through relationships—not how neat and tidy your life looks.
I’ve got much to learn in this area, but I recognize that at the end of my life I want people to say I lived like Jesus—that means I must value people. As I’ve urged the Lord to grow me in this area, I’ve asked myself these questions. Ask them of yourself and consider this: Do I value people?
- When someone calls me unexpectedly, do I accept their call or call them back ASAP or ignore them because I’m in the middle of something “more important?”
- At the end of the day, do I measure my value by a) what I was able to accomplish, or b) who I was able to love well?
- For you mommas . . . when your children ask you to play with them, do you usually do it, or do you usually dismiss them because you have laundry to do, dishes to wash, and dinner to cook?
- Do I have time set aside when I “do ministry” (such as teach Sunday school or lead a Bible study), or am I willing to minister to others whenever the opportunity arises?
- Do I make a habit of going out of my way for others?
We are unlikely to value others as freely and often as Jesus did, but we should pay close attention to the fact that He lived like people were important to Him (because they are!). To be more like Him, we must do the hard work to follow His example.
Do you live like people matter? What’s one thing you can do today to be more like Christ in this area?