SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 1:6 (KJV)
He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.
STORY as shared by Gary Smalley and John Trent:
Keith Hernandez is one of baseball's top players. He is a lifetime .300 hitter who has won numerous Golden Glove awards for excellence in fielding. He's won a batting championship for having the highest average, the Most Valuable Player award in his league, and even the World Series. Yet with all his accomplishments, he has missed out on something crucially important to him -- his father's acceptance and recognition that what he has accomplished is valuable. Listen to what he had to say in a very candid interview about his relationship with his father: "One day Keith asked his father, 'Dad, I have a lifetime 300 batting average. What more do you want?' His father replied, 'But someday you're going to look back and say, ‘I could have done more.’"
But you could have … how many of us have heard that at some point in our life? Yes, we have accomplished this or that … but you could have. Those simple words have the power to destroy instead of build up. Those simple words often spoken with good intentions can rob us of the acceptance, total and complete, of the one individual(s) that mean the most to us.
Most of the time the significant individual means well like in, “you haven’t reach your full potential.” But lacking the skill to communicate accurately or well, they send the wrong message as in, “you didn’t measure up.”
This message has been drilled into our psychic so that it negatively affects us for the rest of our lives. We are driven to be successful. Our accomplishments are not enough. In our relationship with God we think that we have to measure up to some celestial standard before God will accept us. We’ve got to be more faithful. We have got to do more in the church/Kingdom. We need to pray more … read more … witness more … give more … none of our efforts are ever good enough … or at least that is the way we think. While it is probably true that there is much more that we could and should be doing for the Kingdom, it is also true that even before we start to live the Christian life God already accepts us through Christ.
God desires a relationship with us – nothing more – nothing less. Once we have turned to him and begin to believe there isn’t anything more that we have to do. There is no “buts” in the relationship. With the Protestant Work Ethic being taught to us so well here in America it is really hard for us to realize that acceptance comes before we have done anything. In our way of thinking acceptance is usually based on behavior and on our accomplishments. But it is different when it comes to God. And for that I say, “Praise God.”
Thank you for accepting us as we are. Thank you for not placing layers of guilt or feelings that we need to do more. Allow us today to simply sit back and enjoy the relationship we have with you.
QUOTE from Max Lucado, No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, page 34:
Value is now measured by two criteria – appearance and performance. Pretty tough system, isn’t it? Where does that leave the retarded? Or the ugly or uneducated? Where does that place the aged or the handicapped? What hope does that offer the unborn child? Not much. Not much at all. We become nameless numbers on mislaid lists. Now please understand, this is man’s value system. It is not God’s.