Immeasurable worth

Rachel Denhollander is the former gymnast and lawyer whose faith gave her the courage to expose the abuses of Olympic Team doctor Larry Nassar. She told her story in the 2019 book, What Is a Girl Worth?  Rachel has also written children’s books, one for girls and one for boys. She wants children to understand that they are of infinite worth because they are made in the image of God.

In this time of mental health crisis, we ought to get Rachel’s books and read them again and again.

Even if we don’t have kids.

Here’s an excerpt from How Much Is a Little Girl Worth?

How much, how much are you worth precious girl?

How much is a little girl worth?

More than the sun and the moon and the sky.

More than the shimmering sea.

All the beautiful treasures of earth… (God says)

You are worth more than all that to me.

You’re beautiful, worthy, and you should be loved…

Because of all that you are.

Different from anything else in the world.

You are precious beyond all the stars.

You bear God’s image—mind, body, and soul.

Lovingly made to be perfect and whole…

…Your value is found not in what you can do

Or the things you accomplish and win.

It is found in how you were made precious girl…

Created and cherished by Him.

Your worth cannot fade; it will not go away.

It is not changed a bit by what happens today.

No one and nothing can make you worth less.

Just what is your value? You don’t have to guess.

No one has power to change what God’s done,

And he says you’re worth everything, even his Son.

Worth all the pain, worth great sacrifice,

Worth leaving heaven, worth giving his life.

How much, how much are you worth precious girl?

How much is a little girl worth?

Worth so much more than all my words could say.

No one and nothing can take that away.

Our Father

My father was well known for his laugh, which often came out as a great roar. Interestingly, he made pretty much the same sound when he sneezed.

He could also roar when he was frustrated or mad.

Sometimes, when lying in bed at night, I would hear a muffled roar coming up from downstairs. I would hold my breath, listening for the next sound to find out what kind of roar it was.

My father often worked late and I would be in bed when he got home. Then it was possible that the roar from downstairs was his reaction to a report my mother had given him about the trouble I’d gotten into that day.

But no matter what kind of roar it was, my brother, sister, and I always knew our father loved us.

Of course my father wasn’t perfect. He could be moody, and we learned to avoid going into his room when he paid the bills. He never had a new car, choosing instead to take us on big family vacations. And oh my, he made sure our Christmases were special.

One of the truly amazing things believers take for granted is that we get to call God, “Father.”

“Father” was how Jesus taught his followers to address God.

Psalm 108 says that our Heavenly Father is totally compassionate, totally forgiving to his children. He never treats his children as their sins deserve. He knows how fragile we are, but in our Heavenly Father’s arms we will live forever.

Think about that. God is the creator of a trillion galaxies, and he says to those who fear him, “Call me Dad.”

Agents of change

Francois Clemmons was born in Birmingham and was raised in the 50s and 60s in Youngstown, Ohio. He grew up singing in the church choir and got music degrees from Oberlin and Carnegie Mellon. 

In 1968, Fred Rodgers invited him to play the part of Officer Clemmons, the friendly neighborhood police officer, on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” on PBS. But Francois had been raised in a ghetto where they didn’t have a high opinion of the police. Francois knew that Fred was taking a risk in casting a black actor as a police officer. Fred convinced him to take the part, making him the first African American to have a recurring role on children’s TV.

The most memorable scene between Mr. Rogers and Officer Clemmons was broadcast in 1969. Mr. Rogers was resting his bare feet in a kid’s swimming pool on a hot day. He invited Officer Clemmons to rest his feet in the water with him.

Francois later said, “The icon Fred Rogers was not only showing my brown skin in the tub with his white skin as two friends, but as I got out of that tub, he helped me dry my feet.”

Fred ended every program by hanging up his sweater and saying, “You make every day a special day just by being you, and I like you just the way you are.” But that day, Fred looked right at Francois when he said it. 

He asked him, “Fred, were you talking to me?” Fred said, “I’ve been talking to you all along.” 

This Sunday, Patrick Myers, the Executive Director of Ligonier Camp and Conference Center, the amazing Christian adventure camp our church owns, will be preaching from Luke 10 on the parable of the Good Samaritan. The camp’s theme this summer is “Agents of Change.”

Fred Rogers was a Presbyterian minister. He never pastored a church, but his understanding of what it means to be a neighbor came out of his relationship with Jesus Christ.

We need the one who came from heaven to earth, to not only risk his life, but to give his life, freely, gladly.

When we grasp the radical, self-giving love of the Great Samaritan Jesus Christ, we can begin to be agents of change. 

Not makeshift

One of the Bible passages traditionally read on Pentecost Sunday is the story of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9, how the earliest recorded attempt at urban development went wrong. Commentator Derek Kidner said, “The building materials are makeshift, and the builders are weaker still.” Even as they built a monument to themselves, they felt the need to huddle together.

If God had not come down to confuse the language and scatter the people of Babel, they would have eventually scattered anyway. The Tower of Babel hadn’t been “built to code.” It was built without God, which is half-built at best, and it wasn’t going to last.

Millennia later, after Jesus had returned to God in heaven, God sent the Holy Spirit to the apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-21). The people in the crowd heard the apostles speaking to them in their own native language.

The Holy Spirit had reversed the confusion of Babel. The Spirit was telling them who built them and why.

In the same way, the Spirit reminds us that we are not makeshift; we were not half built.

We were meant to rise to become living monuments to the Builder.