By Toni Ford
Have you ever heard a speaker begin his or her seminar by holding up a $20 bill?
Talking in front of 300 students, a speaker recently asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”
Of course, hands started going up all across the room. He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.”
The speaker proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up. Then he asked, “Who still wants it?” Still the hands went up in the air.
“Well, what if I do this?” The speaker dropped the bill on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked up the bill, which was now crumpled and dirty.
“Now who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air.
Just before he leaned over to give it to a person in the audience, the speaker said, “Friends, you have learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, we are still priceless.”
I believe this is a beautiful picture of how our Heavenly Father loves us and longs for us, regardless of what we have done.
He loved us first. Even when we were sinners, messed up, and dirty, Christ still loved me and came for me. Romans 5: 8 says, “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
His mercy is greater than any of my works. We will never be able to be “good enough” to get into heaven or do “enough good things” to earn His love. It is only because of His mercy towards us that He accepts us as we are, and He alone can make us clean and whole again. Titus 3: 4-5 says, “But, when God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.”
Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love. Regardless of what we encounter in this life, regardless of what we have done and regardless of what others try to tell us, NOTHING can separate us from God’s love for us. Romans 8:38-39 says, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Thank you, Lord, for loving me even when I was dirty, crumpled and dropped! Thank you that your love and longing for me never runs out!