Sometimes life surprises you, and the little things challenge you. We’ve all had moments where we’ve remembered something from the past, or we hear a lyric to a song, or someone says something in passing that just gets lodged into our brains. We can’t dismiss it or forget it. We have to ponder it and act on it.
That happened to me not too long ago.
A couple weeks back I came home from work. And usually when I get home from work, my girls run to the back door screaming, “Daddy’s home! Daddy’s home!” Then they crash into me and hug me until they’re over it.
But this day was different.
We Love People More Than Things
When I walked through the door, my three year old Eden shouted, “Daddy! Daddy! We love people more than things!”
I have to admit this threw me for a bit of a loop. It surprised me. I was taken back. Not because she didn’t crash into me with her adorable three year old hugs, but because I didn’t expect something like that to come out of her mouth.
In that moment I had two initial thoughts. First, I thought to myself, “That’s really cute. I hope she remembers that later when her sister wants her toy.” And then I thought, “I have an awesome wife. She’s the best wife ever, and she’s raising our kids to be the best kids ever.”
And then I sort of forgot about it.
That’s not hard to do in my house. We have four kids under three. So during the waking hours it’s pretty much all havoc and carnage at our place. There’s not a lot of time for philosophizing or deep introspection.
Unless it’s in the early hours of the morning.
And that’s when it hit me.
Wisdom Isn’t Hiding
This year I’m trying to take my Bible reading slow. God’s been teaching me to slow down. Life’s doesn’t always have to be a sprint. That’s a hard lesson for me to learn, and another blog for another day.
But I’m taking it slow. I’m picking one book at a time and reading one chapter at a time. I’m reading it over and over again doing my best to savor the word.
Currently I’m in the book of Proverbs (side-note: I’m working on a devotional through the book of Proverbs to give away for free to all of my subscribers. So stay tuned!)
One morning, early, before the Witt house whirlwind ensued, I was reading through Proverbs chapter 8.
The Holman Christian Standard Bible titles that chapter Wisdom’s Appeal.
Here’s what the first couple of verses say:
Doesn’t Wisdom call out? Doesn’t Understanding make her voice heard? At the heights overlooking the road, at the crossroads, she takes her stand. Beside the gates at the entry to the city, at the main entrance, she cries out.
I jotted this note down in my Bible: “Wisdom isn’t hiding.”
That’s a massively important truth! Wisdom isn’t hiding. We all want to grow in wisdom. We all want to make better choices. We all want to live better lives, and we need wisdom to do that.
But for some reason, we’ve convinced ourselves that wisdom is elusive. That it’s out of our grasp. That it is not easily attainable.
But that’s not what Scripture says. The Bible says that Wisdom is everywhere. That she’s crying out just waiting to be heard.
Wisdom isn’t hiding. And all we have to do is open our eyes or open our ears and hear her voice.
That’s when it came back to me.
An Early Morning Ephiphany
“We love people more than things, daddy. Daddy, we love people more than things. Don’t you know? We love people more than things!”
It was like a broken record. I couldn’t get it out of my head.
And I realized, God was trying to teach me wisdom.
Do you hear what these children are saying? – Matthew 21:6
Sometimes God uses unforeseen circumstances and unexpected messengers–like little three year old girls!–to remind us of profound truth.
People are more important than things. They are more important than our appointments, our agendas, our goals, and our ambitions. People are more important than our Facebook feeds or our favorite television shows. They are more important than our schedules, our due dates and our deadlines.
People trump all of those things because people are made in the image of God. And God creates every person with intrinsic worth, value and dignity.
Do I Love People More Than Things?
So I started to ask myself, “Do I live this way? Does my lifestyle back this up? Do I really love people more than things?”
And on the surface, it’s easy for me to say yes. I’m not actively trying to devalue the people around me. I’m not consciously choosing things over people. I don’t have a bumper sticker on my car that says, “I love my stuff more than I love you!”
But then I started to think about it more deeply. And I started to realize all the ways I choose things over people.
I started thinking about times I was cooking dinner and I gave the best portion to myself rather than to my wife or kids (shh don’t tell!). I remembered all the times that a phone call was more important than the face-to-face conversation I was having. I thought about the times I wanted my food more than I wanted to show kindness to my waiter (I’m noticing a pattern here when it comes to food. Hangry anybody?). Or when I was more concerned about solving my own problems than helping my wife solve hers.
The list could go on and on.
There are all of these subtle, simple, slight ways that we choose things over people every single day.
A Great Commandment Life
Someone asked Jesus once, “What is the greatest commandment?” And Jesus gave him two answers.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.
The life God desires for us is a life of love. Love for Him first and foremost. And then a life of love for others.
Jesus didn’t say love God and your things. He said love God and love people. And if we’re going to live a Christ-centered life, then we have to learn to love people well.
Father, help me to love others well. Help me to see others as they are: human beings created in your image. Help me to find dignity and worth in every individual I meet. And help me to love them more than I love my stuff. Amen.