In the bible, the book of Psalms is an intriguing book. It is packed with short, honest poems, joy and tears. Emotions swing from high to low and back again. The writers talk, sometimes even shout, to God about how they feel and in most cases some form of understanding or resolution in the writer occurs.
Psalm 8 has a question – ‘What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour.’ — In other words – who are we???????
Adolf Hitler’s political philosophy has been summed up to say: “Society’s needs come before the individual’s needs.”
History, of course, tells us how that way of thinking worked out. Similarly, Communism stresses the importance of the political party over the person. In fact, under Joseph Stalin’s collectivization efforts in the Soviet Union during the early 1900s, peasant farmers were forced, for the benefit of the state, to give up their land and animals in order to become part of collective farms. This resulted in the starvation and death of many millions of innocent people.
In contrast to these philosophies, the biblical worldview holds that people matter supremely because they matter to God. Genesis 1:26-27 makes it clear that human beings are uniquely created in the image of God. We therefore have intrinsic value beyond that of any of the other creatures on earth, and this value is not contingent on our abilities, quality of life, or perceived worth in society.
Thus, Jesus said that God’s greatest commands are to
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind... [and] Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. — Matthew 22:37-40,
Jesus also challenged us to go beyond just loving our neighbours:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. — Matthew 5:43-45
The Bible teaches us that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
One would hope that by taking the biblical worldview believers would among many things fight for the rights of the oppressed, and work to feed, clothe, and lift up those in poverty. These are practical outworkings of the teachings of Jesus, who said in Matthew 25:40,
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.
Recently harvest has been a time for that.
So what nugget can I ask you to take away and chew over….. perhaps this…..
You matter to God, as does every person you know — and those you don’t know. Whom might God want you to protect, encourage, or love in His name today?
Rev Michelle Ireland