God don’t make no junk. My apologies to English teachers everywhere but the statement is true. When God made you He knew exactly what He was doing and He didn’t make no junk. David says in Psalm 139, “We are fearfully and wonderfully made and Your works (that’s you and me) are wonderful, I know that full well.” (verse 14) Perhaps there is no truth that has more power over us and in us than the truth that God made each one of us specifically and on purpose, just the way we are, and He loves us individually and uniquely with an everlasting love.
When our son Joshua was born he was a perfect kid. I know that you know I can be given to exaggeration but he really was just perfect. He was easy going, compliant, such a sweet disposition. He would mind. He was polite. When he was about 4 years old I looked at his mother and said, “We are amazing parents. We have this thing figured out.” And God heard that and just laughed and laughed. And sent us Jacob. Jacob was born with red hair and a redheaded disposition. He was fire and vinegar from the very first. If you said the sky was blue Jacob would argue to the bitter-end that it was green. If you made Jacob sit down he would say, “I’m sitting on the outside of me but I’m standing on the inside.”
When the boys were little I would tuck them in bed at night with a time of personal affirmation. I would sit on the edge of Josh’s bed and say, “Josh, you are so smart. I saw your test paper today. You are amazing. Josh, you are such a fast runner.” Josh would grin, shyly and say, “Aww, dad, don’t say that.” Then I would go in Jacob’s room. I’d sit on the edge of his bed and try to do the same thing. “Jacob,” I’d say, “You are so handsome.” Jacob would pop straight up and say, “And I’m funny. And I color great. And I can jump really high. And I am awesome at math…” How could two boys be so completely different?
As the years have passed both boys continue to be unique. Joshua, a grown man now and a father of his own two sons, is thoughtful, meticulous, very deliberate in planning for the well-being of his family. He sets his mind on a goal and will not be deterred, moving determinedly to accomplish it. Nothing gets in his way. Jacob sets his mind on a thousand goals. He is impulsive, impetuous and unbelievably intelligent. He is the life of every party and a friend to the world. When he got married last April I pulled Allison aside and said, “Allison, we love you and we apologize in advance for all of the crazy adventures Jacob is going to get you in.” Different but both wonderfully blessed in their own right.
Well, those are my kids. If you were writing this, you would write stories equally as drastic in the differences between yours. God makes each one of us as distinct from one another as the stars in the sky or the blades of grass. From our fingerprints to our friendships, we are each one created in His image but totally, wonderfully, amazingly special. And He did that on purpose. He loves you and He loves me just the way we are. Wow!
There are three stories in our reading today that testify to that fact. Jacob blesses Ephraim and Manasseh in Genesis 48. He crosses his hands and places his right hand, reserved for the first born on Ephraim, Joseph’s younger son, and his left hand on Manasseh, the oldest. He knows what he is doing. He blesses them both. But he says the blessings that God has for them are not cookie cutter, assembly line. They are special for each one.
In Psalm 48 the psalmist is talking about The City, surely a reference to and blessing on Jerusalem, that city that God has always held precious and dear to His own heart. But I think it also is intended to turn our thoughts to the ultimate City of God, the place that Jesus was talking about when He said, “I am going to prepare a place for you. In My Father’s house are many mansions.” (John 14) God is preparing a certain place and space designed with each one of us in mind.
The final story is Acts 25-26. (Why don’t you try to read the whole story in one setting today?) Paul is testifying before Festus and Agrippa. He tells about his zeal to persecute the church before his conversion, and his passion for the special call that God placed on his life after his conversion. He is so passionate that he even tries to convert Agrippa on the spot. (Yes, officer I know I was speeding but let me ask you, if you were to die tonight do you know where you would spend eternity?)
What do those three stories have to do with my two sons? I thought you would never ask. Here’s the deal, God has blessed you, just you, in a way that is planned and prepared just for you. Nobody anywhere has the skill set, the personality and the spiritual gifts that God has given you. You are one of a kind. He made you to be special and He is crazy about you.
He also knows your end from your beginning. He has your story all written out and He planned your conclusion before you could say “happily ever after.” Psalm 139 again, “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” (verse 16) He delights in you from the first to the last and He has thought of everything all along the journey.
Which leads me to the last thing. He has a specific plan for you, a purpose, a calling, a task or bunch of tasks, laid out to give your life meaning and value. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. You may be famous and do big stuff. You may plod along, grind it out in simple obscurity all your life but YOU WILL BE IMPORTANT. God called you to a job that is uniquely yours. CEO of a Fortune 500 company or father of a family of 5, either way GOD IS INTERESTED IN YOU. If that doesn’t light your fire, your wood is wet.
I repeat, no truth that has more power over us and in us than the truth that God made each one of us specifically and on purpose, just the way we are, and He loves us individually and uniquely with an everlasting love. Live in that today. Rejoice in it. Repeat it to yourself over and over. “God made ME. And God don’t make no junk!”
Can you believe we are 2 days away from completing 50 Days together? Thank you. I have been genuinely honored to take this journey with you. You have been so kind in your remarks. More than that I have been blessed by many that have said daily Bible reading has become the norm. That was my vision all along. On March 1 let’s start 40 Days of Lent. (Remember it is a little more than that because the Lenten Calendar does not count Sundays.) I am thinking we might jump to the back third of the Psalms and start reading together at Psalm 100. And then what about reading the Gospel of John together, not a full chapter each day necessarily but a story? John is a great story teller. We can try to think along the theme of reconciliation, God reconciling the world, us reconciling to one another, God reconciling each one of us to Himself. (I likes to be reconciled.) One final thing, I didn’t think this through really well. (Can you say impulsive and impetuous?) It is easier for me to take you off the list than to add you on. So, I will start out with the same list. If you know of someone you’d like to share this with that wants to be included by all means, have them email me. But if you would like to be removed you will not offend me in the least. Mail me your email written on a $20 bill…just kidding. Send me an email and I will take you off. I’ll probably repeat all this tomorrow. God loves you and so do I. You are special.