A Different Way
The Gospel of Matthew shines light on what it means to say “I’m in” to God’s way. It’s worth taking the time to read the whole book soon. Matthew is the first book of the New Testament: God’s new commitment with the world through Jesus. It’s the story of why and how anyone, not just the Jewish people of the Old Testament, but anyone can find the way to God because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
In Chapter 10, Jesus sent out His followers (us). He gave us His authority, promised us His power, and then reminded us of our importance to God. As you read it today, pay special attention to verses 29-31. Jesus told His followers that we might even run into people who will try to kill us, but, “Don’t worry,” Jesus explained, because we’re of more value than a bunch of sparrows.
Huh? Okay, Jesus, what? That’s not really doing it for me. Birds? Specifically sparrows? You couldn’t pick eagles? Like how many sparrows? We must be missing something, right?
The words more value come from the Greek: diapherō. The root, dia, basically means through. Like a channel which something can travel through. Pherō means to carry or bring forth. To carry through? Kind of. Jesus’ specific use here is consistent with other uses in Greek that would translate more like: to carry differently, or to carry through a different way.
No wonder we’re so valuable to God. Each one of us is a custom-made channel crafted by God to carry Jesus a different way. No wonder He sent His only Son, not just to save us, but to send us with Jesus to next person in front of us.
Our world tends to value people not unlike how we value meat, by weight. Not like waist size, but the weight we carry in relationships, in money, in stuff, in an organization, or in society. But God’s way is different. It’s diapherō. You’re not valuable because of the weight you carry; you’re invaluable because of the way you carry Jesus.
Don’t get all worked up because you messed up or because you’re different. Being different is what makes all this work.
Paul, the guy who hated Jesus so much that He murdered His followers, finally met Jesus on the road and then spent the rest of his life growing the Church and writing a lot of the New Testament. In His letter to the church in Corinth, he wrote about how we, the Church, are one body, with many parts and all different functions.
Paul realized he could only carry Jesus the way a guy who used to kill Jesus’ followers could carry Jesus. A way which so far has carried Jesus all the way through Corinth to you. How do you carry Jesus? Who will you carry Him to?
Pray: Jesus, I’m in. Show me what I can do to act on the unique life experiences I have to carry You a different way as part of Your Church body. Amen.