People Matter

Your neighbor down the street matters. Your best friend from childhood matters. The stranger you meet in line at the grocery store matters. People matter. Why? They matter because they are created in the image of God.

It is easy to go about our days just worrying about ourselves. We were made for so much more than that. In an individualistic culture, it is going against the grain to reach out to other people. But it is worth it. People are craving community even if they don’t realize it. We try to find a sense of community on a screen, on social media, and that often leaves us feeling empty. As humans, we crave community. Not only that, we crave real life community.

I recently spent the weekend with my best friends from high school. Yes, the weekend was filled with laughing until our stomachs hurt, inside jokes, and reminiscing on the past. But more importantly, it was a reminder that I was known and loved. These people know my favorite color, that I don’t like sweets too often, and my love for coffee. This safety of being known and loved by them pales in comparison to how much God knows each of us and loves us so intentionally.

God has given us the Church as a way to love people and for people to be seen. It isn’t a place of competition, but it is a place of grace. It is a place for people to be known. Not only would they be known by other people, but they will be introduced and reminded they are known and loved by God. It is a place where people matter. God intentionally uses his Church to reach people who are lost. Each person is a precious, eternal soul. A soul that will either end up in heaven or hell. We get to tell them the way to have eternal life with God. We get to point them to Christ. In John 3:16, it says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” People matter because we are eternal beings.

As believers, we are called to reach the lost who do not yet know this Truth. What does that look like? It looks like being a listening ear to the single mother in your apartment building who is struggling to make ends meet. It looks like opening up your home as a safe haven. It looks like baking cookies and going door to door sharing with your neighbors. It looks like asking a stranger how you can pray for them, and then praying for them right then and there. This is what the Church does!

I want you to pause and think about five people in your everyday life who are lost and are needing to be known and loved. Write down their names and put the list somewhere in your house where you will read it daily. Pray for them when you pass by the list. Who on that list can you make a meal for? Who on that list could you send Bible verses or encouragement to via texting? Who needs to hear they are forgiven of the mistakes they have made? Who needs to hear that there is now no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1)?

God has recently called my husband and I to the community of Lincoln, North Dakota. The Lord has been at work in big ways in this community, especially with a Kids Club program that has been running at the local elementary school for roughly the last seven years. We have been able to come alongside the ministry that has been going on to be used as instruments by God as he is building his Church here in Lincoln. Though we often feel inadequate and a little young, God has called us here. It is a reminder that it is God doing the work. Why are we here? We are here because people matter. We are here because the gospel of Jesus Christ is way too sweet to keep to ourselves. We are here not only to share the gospel, but to share our very lives.

As Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (ESV), “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” By God’s grace, we have been able to share our lives with people in our community. We can rest assured that it is God doing the work through us, and we are his workmanship created to do good works that he has planned before us (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The best news of all is that we do not do this work alone! God goes before each one of us as we minister to the people in our everyday lives. There are so many people in the Church Universal doing this every single day. The evil one wants us to think we are alone. We are not alone!

Throughout the CLB and beyond, there are churches reaching out to the lost in their own communities. Let us be thankful together for the work that God is doing throughout the world. Let us be thankful for other people on mission together all for the glory of God.

Philippians 1:3-6 (ESV) says, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Emily and her husband Pastor Carl Juhl are serving the Church of the Lutheran Brethren as church planters in Lincoln, North Dakota.

Watch a video summary of the Lincoln church plant below.

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