By Toni Ford
Have you ever heard a speaker begin their seminar or talk by holding up a $20 bill?
A speaker who recently spoke in front of 300 students 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 were up in the air.
“Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” He dropped the money on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He then picked up the bill, which was now crumpled and dirty. “Now, who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air.
Just prior to giving the money to a person in the audience, the said, “Friends, you have learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it, because making it dirty did not decrease its 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.
God loved us first. Even when we were sinners, all messed up and dirty, Jesus 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.” Simply meditating on the thought that Jesus initiated, reached out and loved me first is a sobering reminder that I am nothing without His love. Honestly, who am I to ever complain that Jesus is not doing enough for me? I’ve never done anything to deserve His love, and yet Jesus reached out and loved me first. What an incredible God we serve!
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 Jesus’ love. It is only because of His mercy towards us that He accepts us as we are, and Jesus 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.”
Not only does this Scripture make me eternally grateful to the Lord for His unconditional love in my life but I also ask myself if I am quick to love others, not giving up on others so quickly while and giving them the benefit of the doubt?
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, and please make me more like You when it comes to loving others!
If you would like me to join you in prayer, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to pray for you!