Thursday, November 20, 2014

be nice and change the world

When Liz was 14, her two best friends told her they were finished being her friend, and they meant it. 
Liz spent the rest of her freshman year with strong walls built around her heart to keep people away. 
She was cold, a little bit mean, and alone. 
"I don't need people," was the theme of her opinion on relationships. 

Towards the end of her freshman year, a girl at school invited Liz to youth group. Liz had quit going to her old youth group, the place where the two ex-best friends still went, so she accepted the girl's invitation.

Cold, lonely, friendless Liz was nervous the night she went to the new youth group. 
In telling me this story, Liz didn't mention the youth pastor's name, the topic of his message, the snacks served afterwards, the games in the youth room, or the songs that were sung. 
What she did mention was this;

"Someone there treated me like I was worth something.
 So I went back."

Liz kept going back to youth group, 
getting closer to Jesus, 
and started changing the world.

Now, over 10 years later, Liz is about as far from "cold, lonely, and friendless" as one can get. 
She is lively, fun, invested in people's lives, outward focused, and just really awesome. 

She has played with orphans in Nicaragua, preached the Gospel to inner-city kids, flown to Japan and loved people there, helped many university international students adapt to their new lives in the U.S., and is currently the children's pastor at Daylight Church
She up and moved her life to Louisville to help the kids of Daylight know Jesus. 

Like I said, she's just really awesome. 

So here's the thing, 
the girl who treated Liz like she was worth something one night at youth group is the unsung hero of this story. 
Brittany Miller, that's the girl's name, has some names of people she's never personally met added to her "made-an-eternal-difference-in-their-lives" list in Heaven. Now, when Liz tells a 5 year-old about Jesus, God smiles at Brittany Miller, thankful that she listened to Him. 
 Take that one Wednesday night out of the picture and the whole story is changed.
I don't imagine that this girl had any idea the impact she was going to have on the world that night at youth. 
She saw that Liz was worth something so she treated her like she was worth something. 
That's it.  

I want to be your Brittany Miller. 
I want to be everyone-I-know's Brittany Miller. 

I want to make people feel like they're worth something because they are. 
Jesus makes people feel like a million bucks, 
and He'd like His followers to do the same.
"Jesus, help me to see what human beings are worth to You," would be a good prayer for us all to pray. 

Sometimes changing the world looks like being really nice to a stranger for a few minutes on a Wednesday night. 

 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: 
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:36-40