Kristin’s middle son, Carter, is having a special week. That’s because he is a V.I.P at school. By that I mean that he is the center of attention and gets to have a special day in his 3rd grade class. Several weeks ago, we were notified that this event was coming – a time when each child in the class has a special time – and now it’s Carter’s turn. In preparation for the surprise, we received an email asking us to write a special note to him that would be read in class. Ideally, this note would say something that Carter would like to hear about himself in front of his class without embarrassing him in the process.
Now this sounds a little easier than it is in reality. Because while we know Carter very well, and have been with him every step of his life, it is unusual to write to him. After all, we see him almost every day and we are constantly telling him that we love him and how he is a great little kid – at least most of the time. Like his brothers, he gets amped up at times with people using his stuff and he can tend to play his video games to excess, but that’s normal for a child his age. So as I sat down to write my note to be read in his class, I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on Carter and his young life. As a middle child, I am sure that it has not been easy for him. I know what my brother went through as a middle child – and Janet is a middle child as well!
But after all was said and done, the letter came out fine and I was satisfied with the result. I hoped that I accomplished the delicate balance between honoring him and not embarrassing him. Not entirely unexpected, the whole thing got me thinking about God. I suppose that you know by now that most things get me thinking about God one way or the other. I thought about all the parables and the stories that Jesus taught his apostles and the others who believed in Him. In the end, it occurred to me that the entire thing could best be explained in a very simple way. In God’s eyes, I am a V.I.P. That’s right – I am; and so are you. Every single one of you.
I know that it probably makes more sense that all of us would consider God a V.I.P. – and I am sure that we do – but in the “upside down” kingdom of God, He loves us and considers us vitally important in the entire scheme of things. Some people have trouble believing that they are important enough to be loved by God – that’s just a fallacy. In our human brokenness, we don’t take time to consider that God created us in His own image and that we are His handiwork. In the beginning, noted in Genesis, God even gave man dominion over the animals, as evidenced by the fact that Adam was charged with the responsibility of naming everything. Yes – we’re V.I.P.’s…
Then there is the parable of the lost sheep. You probably know it. The shepherd has 100 sheep and 1 is lost, so he leaves the 99 in the open field and goes off in search of the one that was lost. We are told that there was great rejoicing when the lost one was found. That sounds like one of us being found, doesn’t it?
And we are told that there is rejoicing in heaven when a person turns to Christ and affirms Christ as Lord and Savior. We are also told that Christ lost none who were entrusted to His care, except Judas, the one who turned to Satan and sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver prior to the crucifixion. The verse for tonight is the one immediately after the most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16 – the one we all know by heart. But we don’t often read John 3:17, so here it is… “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
There you have it. God so loved the world that He sent His only Son – not to condemn the world, but to save it by giving us a way to be reunited with God. That is simply awesome. My encouragement this evening is that God wants to celebrate you and your life. My prayer is that you have used your life to glorify God and to be a shining example of His “upside down” kingdom – doing things exactly the reverse of the way that we are naturally inclined to conduct ourselves. After all, you are a V.I.P to God. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…