Thursday, October 31, 2013

Known and Counted

Back in the summer, I went out for a long bike ride. I had been riding for a while when I turned down a road with one of those digital signs that displays vehicle speed. You’ve seen those signs, right? It’s a speed limit sign that, through a radar beam, registers then flashes the speed of each car that passes by. If the vehicle is exceeding the posted speed limit, it will yell in pulsating yellow lights the words “SLOW DOWN!”

So one day last August I was peddling away when I looked up and the sign posted the speed of my bicycle. I was pretty excited about this. It caused a smile sweep across my sweaty red face. Mostly I was glad to know I was moving fast enough to be noticed. Right there, eight feet high in lights for the world to see my velocity, “14 MPH.” That was me. That was my speed. I was noticed. I was doing that! Ok I’m humored easily, but here are some principles to take away from this.

1. Known.
It feels good to be known. I was humored by a speed limit sign that acknowledged my speed because frankly I didn’t expect it to. For a sign made to monitor motor vehicles, I didn’t figure a plumb peddler’s velocity would even make a blip. But it did. It saw me. It’s a powerful thing to be seen and to be known.
You may feel sometimes that you are not noticed. You may even think that no one sees you or knows you. Perhaps there are moments when it seems like God doesn’t see you. I’ve met people that feel like that. They feel like a T-baller playing in the Big League. They feel as if no one notices what in their estimation is a miniscule contribution. It’s a game changer for a person when they realize that God does notice us. God knows us. God sees you.
(Sin causes us to hide. Sin drives a person away from the God who sees. An example of this the story of the Fall in the Garden of Eden. Adam hid from God after he sinned. But God still saw. Acknowledging that God ‘sees and knows’ draws us out of condemnation into redemption and reconciliation.)

2. Counted.
When we know it counts we want to do more.
A strange rush of adrenaline came over me when I saw my number displayed. I wanted to make the speed go up. When I saw that what I was doing was being noticed and displayed, I wanted to turn that “14” into a “15.” When I saw that it counted I wanted to do more. And I did.

I truly believe that one of most de-motivating things in life is to be busy with matters that we feel are insignificant. Nothing takes the passion out of an activity like realizing (or feeling like) it doesn’t ultimately matter. It has been said that one of the three major characteristics of a miserable job is insignificance. A job, activity, or ministry begins to feel miserable when it seems futile.
On the flip side of that, what energize any volunteer or vocational effort is to know that what you’re doing is making a difference. And like my bicycle speed, when we see that it is noticed a motivation deep within propels us to do more.

So, today I hope this note serves as a reminder (a digital display of sorts) that you are known and what you do counts. You are deeply loved by God and all that is done as “unto the Lord” counts.

Ancient Israel, who at one time was held captive to by an evil Babylonian oppressor, was given this great promise that they were known and mattered so much to God that he promised to sustain them. Isaiah 46:4 “Even in your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

You’re known. You matter. You are loved.
Pastor Terry