Jasmine's Place Issue No. 18 - May/June 2017 - Page 29

blogger, when I’m asked about page views: You were published where? How many copies did you sell? How big is your site? While the questions themselves can be nothing more than small talk, the value we give the answers reveals our hearts. Oh, you got what award? Oh, you paid how much for your house? Oh, you were noticed by them! While we add up details in our minds, we tally invisible points in our heads, creating our own little scoreboards of who is important and why. But this is not the way our heavenly Father works. In Luke 16, Jesus tells his disciples a parable that concludes with the instruction “you cannot serve God and money” (Luke 16:13), and the Pharisees, “who were lovers of money” (Luke 16:14), ridicule him in response. He introduces them to a revolutionary value system, one where being humanly rich - or powerful or popular or successful - is not what matters most, and they laugh. “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts,” he responds to them. “For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). Whether we’re talking about who has the bigger bank account or whose baby started sleeping through the night first, when we look at the things that are exalted among men as measures of our worth, we are behaving like the Pharisees. We are exalting what God doesn’t exalt. We are valuing what he doesn’t call valuable. Instead of anchoring our identities on him and the fact that he, the God of the universe, loves us, we are seeking to justify ourselves before men. But God knows our hearts. What God Esteems In contrast to our shrewd ambition on earth, our desire to rank highly with resumes, readerships, or skills, consider these passages that reveal what God calls worthy of esteem: “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” (Psalm 147:10–11) “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) “For those who honor me I will JASMINE'S PLACE 29 29