by Dr. Mark J. Chironna
May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with your spirit!
I am ever so grateful for your steadfastness of faith in the gospel. The strength of the body of Christ requires that all of us stand strong in these days of challenge and change.
I want to share something with you that happened to me a few weeks back.
I had just returned from vacation, and we had a guest preacher on that Sunday. After I walked to the pulpit to offer a closing prayer and benediction to the flock, I dismissed them in peace and then lingered, as is my custom, at the altar to greet and pray for the saints.
A precious member of the congregation came up to me and quoted something I had said in closing, prior to the benediction. I said these words:
“If it matters to you, it matters to God!”
She asked me something to this effect, “Bishop, would you be willing to teach on that or do a series on that, so that I can understand it?”
Mind you, there was a certain earnest plea in her voice and what seemed to be a deep cry in her spirit when she raised the question. For me it was one of those “God moments.”
You could call it somewhat of an epiphany. While an “epiphany” is generally a manifestation of Christ to an individual, I use the term respectfully and carefully, because this was one of my sisters in Christ, a member of the very body of Christ. The epiphany for me was that I heard the heart of God and sensed it was Christ Himself giving her voice to raise the question.
It startled me, and it humbled me, and I immediately without reservation said yes to her. I then found myself for the remainder of that Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday wrestling with the statement I had made:
“If it matters to you, it matters to God!”
I certainly wish I was the one who originally said that. It is a powerful, deeply moving statement. However, it didn’t originate with me. I originally heard it from a message Max Lucado taught, in which he said something similar. Pastor Lucado has a wonderful way with words and storytelling, and he has been a real encouragement and inspiration to so many, including me.
As I contemplated the phrase, I began to pray and seek the Lord, asking God for wisdom and insight into how to approach that statement, and how to back it up from what the Scripture reveals about the nature of the triune God.
We live in a pretty narcissistic age, where it is all too easy to appeal to the egocentric drive that seems to feed the frenzy in our culture for a “What’s in it for me?” view of life. All too often, we slip into a form of spiritual narcissism. When it comes to teaching about what God wants to do for us, that reduces God to a heavenly bell-hop who lives to fulfill every one of our wishes and commands.
That is far from the picture of the true God, who has revealed Himself to us through His Son, the Lord Jesus, by the power and person of the Holy Spirit.
This precious sister in the Lord who asked me to teach on this concept wasn’t however asking from a self-centered perspective. I could tell that deep in her heart there was something she felt that needed clarifying. But it also went deeper than that – she felt something was missing, something was lacking in her understanding of how much God loved her and that what mattered to her really did matter to God.
That “cry” I heard in her voice and her spirit moved me deeply. It caused a deep spirit of prayer to rise within my heart for her sake, and as I was praying, it was as if the Lord made it clear that her question was the question of many in the body of Christ: “ If it matters to me, does it really matter to God?”
The answer is, “It most certainly does.” But “why” it matters to God is what I want to show you over the next three weeks in this series, “If It Matters to You, It Matters to God!”
I want you to see, and to be assured in your heart, that when the Father sent the Son to be our Savior, He was giving His whole heart to us; His perfect, unfailing love, as revealed in Jesus. Getting this deep, intimate truth into your heart will address that cry in your own heart like our sister had in hers. At the end of this series, I believe you will be able to declare in a confident yet unselfish way: “If it matters to me, it matters to God!”