Is Man Just a Number?
Outline: With God, each person is an individual of great value. God knows everything about us and loves us in spite of everything. Jesus is the Shepherd going after the one lost sheep because He loves it. What is your answer to His call?
|Theme:||Love of God; Saviour of Sinful Men; Family, relationships; Jesus, Our Shepherd|
Scripts are basic guidelines for translation and recording into other languages. They should be adapted as necessary to make them understandable and relevant for each different culture and language. Some terms and concepts used may need more explanation or even be replaced or omitted completely.
What is our reaction when we realize that there are over 4 (7) billions of people in the world? We, who already feel a little bit lost in the midst of a crowd of several thousand people, how can we imagine what 4 (7) billion human beings represent? Have you ever been in a stadium of 30,000 people? It impresses us, whether we like to admit it or not. Do you know that it would take l00,000 stadiums to contain the present population of the world? - 100,000 stadiums!
When we think about this, we can't help feeling uneasy about it. We, who have a tendency to make of ourselves the center of the universe - we suddenly get the impression that our life is completely insignificant. Who am I, if not just a single straw in an immense haystack?
The modern man knows this feeling well. In our big cities we are used to passing crowds from morning to night. In the street, in the bus, in the factory, and even on the beaches, everywhere we are mixing with the multitudes. Those who live in big cities know that one never feels so much alone as in a crowd. And even if we live in a village, the press and the radio are always reminding us of the existence of overcrowded cities. And you cannot ignore the masses of the other lands and continents.
All this gives us the impression that we can't count as individuals any longer, that we are only a number among many, lost in a depressing anonymity.
And yet when we speak about this problem, it is to tell you that we are not just "numbers" in the eyes of God. Let me read a few verses from the Bible. In a Psalm of David it says:" . . . . . . " (Ps. 139:1-5 and l03:8, 10, ll, 13, l4).
In our modern world we are only numbers, but with God, each person is an individual whose value cannot be replaced. Even if there are 4 (7) billion of us, we will never be just numbers before God, and every one of us can say, "Oh, God, Thou knowest _me_ - Thou knowest my down-sitting and up-rising; Thou penetratest my soul."
How is this possible? David would say, "Such wonderful knowledge is too high for me!" A picture will help us perhaps, to grasp something of this mystery. When the sun shines, it gives to everyone all its light and all its warmth. We don't lose a particle of this warmth because others are profiting by it as well. 4 (7) billions of people can say, "It shines entirely for me!" This is the same for God. One doesn't understand who God is, when he says God is too busy, or too far away to take notice of me. The Gospel tells us that not a single sparrow is forgotten by God, and even our hairs are numbered. Nothing in our lives is strange to God. Not a single problem is too secondary or too mundane for Him. Let us hear the words of Jesus: (Luke 15 - the lost sheep)
The knowledge that God knows each one of our thoughts, could make us feel ill at ease, perhaps. You don't like to have anybody know all your weaknesses, faults, and bad thoughts. Isn't it all the more frightening, when this one is the Holy God? He knows our guiltiness. We cannot hide our misery from Him, and yet He loves us. One day a school master asked a little girl what a friend was, and she answered, "A friend? It is somebody who knows me well, and loves me in spite of everything." That is a good picture of God. He is somebody Who knows us well, and loves us in spite of everything! I am not proud that He knows my most secret thoughts, but I know that He loves me such as I am, and I find this unbelievably wonderful.
When Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd who leaves his sheep to go and seek for one single one, it is to show us that each sheep is precious, and that He does everything to find the one that is lost. Each one of us can say, "I am this lost sheep. I have gone far away from Christ, the Shepherd. I wanted to follow my own way, and this has led me to the wilderness, that is, to solitude and to death." But each one can also say, "Christ came to seek for me. He doesn't want me to be left alone, to struggle with my difficulties and sin. He is concerned about me, not because I am a good person, but because I need Him, and He knows it, and loves me."
The shepherd did not go through the wilderness in order to give a severe punishment to the sheep that went astray and to leave it to die at the bottom of the ravine. He put it on His shoulders and brought it back with joy. When Christ takes notice of our misery, it is in order to come and to seek for us where we are, even if it is very low - to forgive us, and not to judge us. Today Christ wants to offer us His forgiveness and His life. He singles us out of an anonymous multitude and calls us by our name. He knows the circumstances of each of our lives, and loves us, such as we are. He loves us in spite of everything. And so, of course, we have to answer Him personally. We cannot answer Him by referring to the circle to which we belong. We cannot even tell Him to go to the church which feels responsible to answer for us. Since He is a personal Saviour, He expects a personal answer from us.
Have you answered Him? Have you thought about His great love for you, personally? He died for you, that your sins might be forgiven. Have you asked Him to forgive you and to make your heart and life clean? Have you responded to His love so that you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? What is your answer to His call?