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If it matters to you it matters to God
The passages below are taken from Max Lucado’s book “He Still Moves Stones,” published in 1993.
Two days later there was a wedding in the town of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his followers were also invited to the wedding. When all the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
Jesus answered, “Dear woman, why come to me? My time has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you to do.”
In that place there were six stone water jars that the Jews used in their washing ceremony. Each jar held about twenty or thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled the jars to the top.
Then he said to them, “Now take some out and give it to the master of the feast.”
So they took the water to the master. When he tasted it, the water had become wine. He did not know where the wine came from, but the servants who had brought the water knew. The master of the wedding called the bridegroom and said to him, “People always serve the best wine first. Later, after the guests have been drinking awhile, they serve the cheaper wine. But you have saved the best wine till now.”
So in Cana of Galilee Jesus did his first miracle. There he showed his glory, and his followers believed in him. (John 2:1—11 NCV)
LET’S PRETEND you are an angel. (That may be a stretch for some of you, but let’s give it a try.)
You are an angel in the era before the Messiah. God has not yet come to the earth, but he soon will and that’s where you come in. You receive notice that you’ve been given a special assignment. A once—in-an-eternity opportunity. You’ve been asked to serve on a special committee. Quite an honor, don’t you think?
Michael chairs the heavenly task force. “Let’s begin by choosing the first miracle,” he states. “The first miracle is crucial. It’s the lead-off proclamation. It’s the vanguard demonstration. It must be chosen carefully.”
“Must be powerful,” someone volunteers.
“Unforgettable chimes a third.
“We are in agreement, then,” affirms Michael. “The first miracle of God on earth must have clout. Any ideas?”
Angelic creativity begins to whir.
“Have him raise a person from the dead.”
“Or a whole cemetery from the dead!”
“Yeah, vacate the place.”
“What about feeding every hungry person one meal?”
“Too easy. How about removing all the disease from the planet?”
“Bingo. I like that idea.”
“I know” the voice is yours. All the other angels turn to look at you. “What if he rids the earth of all evil? I mean, with one great swoop all the bad is gone and just the good remains.”
The group is silent. “Not bad,” says one.
“Good thinking,” says another.
“Get it done once and for all,” agrees Michael. “It’s settled. The first miracle will obliterate evil from the earth!”
Wings rustle with approval and you smile with pride. (You may get a promotion out of this.)
“Now let’s move on to the second miracle . . .“
Sound far-fetched? Maybe, but the story is not without a couple of threads of truth.
One is that Jesus did have a plan. You can tell by some phrases he uses.
“The right time for me has not yet come” (John 7:6).
“The time has come for the Son of Man to receive his glory” (John 12:23).
“The chosen time is near” (Matt. 26:18).
“The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinful people” (Mark 14:41).
“He looked toward heaven and prayed, ‘Father, the time has come . . “ (John 17:1).
Look at those words. “The right time has not yet come.” “The time has come.” “The chosen time.” “The time has come.” What do those phrases imply? A schedule. They represent a definite order of events. The mission of Christ was planned. I doubt if a committee ever existed, but a plan did.
There is a second shred of truth in my little scenario. Not only was there a plan in Christ’s ministry, there was also a first miracle. What was it?
The plot is almost too simple. Jesus and his disciples are at a wedding. The host runs out of wine. All the stores are closed, so Jesus, at his mother’s urging, transforms six jugs of water into six jugs of wine.
That’s it. That’s the lead-off hitter. Pretty low key, don’t you think? Certainly doesn’t have the punch of calling a person from the dead or the flair of straightening a crippled leg.
Or does it? Maybe there is more to this than we think.
You see, a wedding in the day of Christ was no small event. It usually began with a sundown ceremony at the synagogue. People would then leave the synagogue and begin a long, candlelight procession through the city, winding their way through the soft evening sunlight of the city streets. The couple would be escorted past as many homes as possible so everyone could wish them well. After the processional, however, the couple didn’t go on a honeymoon; the honeymoon was brought to them.
They would go home to a party. For several days there would be gift-giving, speechmaking, food-eating and—--you guessed it!—--wine-drinking. Food and wine were taken very seriously. The host honored the guests by keeping their plates full and their cups over flowing. It was considered an insult to the guests if the host ran out of food or wine.
Hospitality at a wedding was a sacred duty. So serious were these social customs that, if they were not observed, lawsuits could be brought by the injured parties!
“Without wine’ said the rabbis, “there is no joy.” Wine was crucial, not for drunkenness, which was considered a disgrace, but for what it demonstrated. The presence of wine stated that this was a special day and that all the guests were special guests.
The absence of wine, then, was a social embarrassment.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one of the first to notice that the wine has run out. She goes to her son and points out the problem: “They have no more wine.”
Jesus’ response? “Dear woman, why come to me? My time has not yet come” (v. 4).
There are those words again. “My time.” Jesus is aware of the plan. He has a place and a time for his first miracle. And this isn’t it.
About now the angelic committee on the miracles of the Messiah lets out a collective sigh of relief.
“Whew, for a minute there, I thought he was going to blow it.”
“Me, too. Can you imagine Jesus inaugurating his ministry with a water-to-wine miracle?”
“That’s it, Jesus, say no. Stick to the plan.”
Jesus knows the plan. At first, it appears he is going to stay with it. But as he hears his mother and looks into the faces of the wedding party, he reconsiders. The significance of the plan is slowly eclipsed by his concern for the people. Timing is important, but people are more so.
As a result, he changes his plan to meet the needs of some friends. Incredible. The schedule of heaven is altered so some friends won’t be embarrassed. The inaugural miracle is motivated—--not by tragedy or famine or moral collapse—--but by concern for friends who are in a bind.
Now if you’re an angel on the committee of Messianic miracles, you don’t like that one bit. No, sir. You don’t like this move on the part of Jesus. Everything about it is wrong. Wrong time. Wrong place. Wrong miracle.
“Come on, Jesus. Remember the schedule,” you urge. “Remember the strategy. This isn’t the way we had it planned.”
No, if you’re an angel on the committee, you don’t like this move.
But if you’re a human who has ever been embarrassed, you like this very much. Why? Because this miracle tells you that what matters to you matters to God.
You probably think that’s true when it comes to the big stuff. When it comes to the major-league difficulties like death, disease, sin, and disaster—--you know that God cares.
But what about the smaller things? What about grouchy bosses or flat tires or lost dogs? What about broken dishes, late flights, toothaches, or a crashed hard disk? Do these matter to God?
I mean, he’s got a universe to run. He’s got the planets to keep balanced and presidents and kings to watch over. He’s got wars to worry with and famines to fix. Who am I to tell him about my ingrown toenail?
I’m glad you asked. Let me tell you who you are. In fact, let me proclaim who you are:
You are an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17).
You are eternal, like an angel (Luke 20:36).
You have a crown that will last forever (1 Corinthians 9:25).
You are a holy priest (1 Pet. 2:5), a treasured possession (Exodus 19:5).
You were chosen before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
You are destined for “praise, fame, and honor, and you will be a holy people to the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 26:19).
But more than any of the above—--more significant than any title or position—--is the simple fact that you are God’s child. “The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are his children” (1 John 3:1).
I love that last phrase! “We really are his children.” It’s as if John knew some of us would shake our heads and say, “Naw, not me. Mother Teresa, maybe. Billy Graham, all right. But not me.” If those are your feelings, John added that phrase for you.
“We really are his children.”
As a result, if something is important to you, it’s important to God.
If you are a parent you know that. Imagine if you noticed an infected sore on the hand of your five-year-old son. You ask him what’s wrong, and he says that he has a splinter. You ask him when it happened. He says last week! You ask him why he didn’t tell you, and he says, “I didn’t want to bother you. I knew you had all those things to do running the household and all, I didn’t want to get in your way.
“Get in my way? Get in my way! I’m your dad. You’re my son. My job is to help. I hurt when you hurt.”
I have a perfect example of this on videotape. My eight-year-old daughter Jenna sang a solo at an appreciation banquet. I agreed to stay home with our other two daughters if my wife would film the performance. When they came home, they had quite a story to tell and quite a tape to show.
Jenna forgot her lines. As she stood onstage in front of a large audience, her mind went blank. Since Denalyn was filming the moment, I saw the crisis through her eyes, the eyes of a mom. You can tell Denalyn is getting nervous the minute Jenna is getting forgetful—--the camera begins to shake. “It’s OK, it’s OK,” Denalyn’s voice assures. She begins singing the words so Jenna will remember. But it’s too late. Jenna says “I’m sorry” to the audience, bursts into tears, and bolts off the stage.
At this point Mom drops the camera and runs after Jenna. The camera records the floor and Denalyn’s voice saying, “Come here, honey’
Why did Denalyn do that? Why did she drop everything and run after her daughter? (By the way, Jenna recovered. Denalyn dried her tears. The two rehearsed the lyrics. And Jenna sang and received a loud ovation.)
Now, why did Denalyn go to all that trouble? In the great scheme of things, does a social embarrassment matter that much? You know the answer before I tell you. To an eight-year-old girl, it’s crucial. And because it was important to Jenna, it was important to Mom.
And because you are God’s child, if it’s important to you, it’s important to God.
Why did Jesus change the water to wine? To impress the crowd? No, they didn’t even know he did it. To get the wedding master’s attention? No, he thought the groom was being generous. Why did Jesus do it? What motivated his first miracle?
His friends were embarrassed. What bothered them bothered him. If it hurts the child, it hurts the father.
So go ahead. Tell God what hurts. Talk to him. He won’t turn you away. He won’t think it’s silly. “For our high priest is able to understand our weaknesses. When he lived on earth, he was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin. Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace” (Heb. 4:15—16, emphasis added).
Does God care about the little things in our lives? You better believe it.
If it matters to you, it matters to him. (134-141)
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