For fifteen years, my wife and I visited teenagers in trouble in the Juvenile Justice System of Hillsborough County (Tampa), Florida. We entered the heavy locked doors at two of the Juvenile Justice maximum security facilities a total of three times a month. After we cleared security, we heard the doors slam shut behind us. We were there for the voluntary evening program, which involved leading praise and worship with the young people, delivering a message from God’s word pertinent to their lives and situation, and praying with them individually. We had to start on time, because that was when the doors opened. We had to end on time, usually an hour and fifteen minutes later, because that was when the teens showered and went to bed. These young people were minors, so we did not know names, and had no way to follow up with them. We had no way to know if our efforts made a difference, or if they even counted at all. Simply, we had to trust Jesus to take over after we told about His love for them, and His great plan for their lives, which did not include a life behind bars. We rarely saw the same person twice, as they were quickly processed through the court system for a release (for a first time minor offense), or were sent into a juvenile program at another facility. Occasionally, depending on age, past record, and severity of the offense, they were sent to jail. Some were there waiting to see the judge, and some had already seen the judge and were waiting to get out or ship out, depending on the disposition of their case. Some nights we would see all girls, some nights all boys. We preferred they not be mixed, as those meetings were harder to be effective. We would see as many as 40 youth on some nights, or as few as 5 on other nights. A good average attendance might be 15-20 per night.
We had gone through a period where we were getting more nights with 5 in attendance, and admittedly, I was probably focused on the numbers and not on the importance of what God wanted us to do. We were attending a mega church at the time, where the pastor was traveling all over the country, drawing 5,000 to 10,000 or more for his crusade meetings. Feeling perhaps a bit unappreciated, I casually said to the Lord one night “Lord, our pastor has a meeting, and 5,000 come. We have a meeting, and only 5 come. What’s up with that?” He instantly replied in an unforgettable response. “You have a meeting for 5, and your pastor has a meeting for 5,000. Both meetings are important to Me.”
Our pastor had a calling for the crusade meetings with 5000 in attendance. God had equipped him with a certain charisma and anointing to do that work. With all the time and effort required to plan, organize and execute a meeting such as that, his calendar was full. God had equipped my wife and me for the small groups, where we could be more effective in the one-on-one interaction with the young people, and in individual prayer. God made it very clear that He was interested in both types of meetings, large and small, and that both were important.
God created it all. It is no surprise that He considers it all important.
In addition to the story of creation in the Book of Genesis, chapters 1 and 2, examine what these New Testament scriptures say about creation:
- John 1:1-3- “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” [Emphasis added.] New International Version.
- Hebrews 3:4- “For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” New International Version.
- Colossians 1:16, 17- “For by Him [Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” [Emphasis added.] New King James Version.
“For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” New International Version.
“For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him (by His service, intervention) and in and for Him. And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).” Amplified Version.
These scriptures affirm that Jesus has been present from the eternal past. He was therefore present at creation. He was not just present at creation, He is in creation. He is not just in creation, but creation is for Him. From the time of creation until the present, He holds all creation together. Whether using the Hubble telescope to see as far as possible into the heavens, or using an electron microscope to see the structure of an atom, scientists today are finding the signature of God in all creation. He put His name on it; that is why all things big and small matter to God.
Seconds and minutes are important to God, but so are centuries. Atoms are important to God, but so are oceans and mountains. The vast heavens are important to God, but so are the tiniest creatures at the bottom of the deepest seas. Life and death are important to God. Everything said or done matters, as does everything left unsaid or undone. I am important to God, but so is every person who has ever lived or is still living. Every smile, every encouraging word, every act of help, and every cup of water to the thirsty is important to God.
Teens locked away out of sight in a maximum security prison matter to God. Every opportunity to tell one person about Jesus, or to tell 10,000 people about Jesus is important to the Lord. No matter how large or small, it all matters to Him. Jesus holds all creation together, and He takes great interest in all of it. His creation is not static, it is dynamic, and it takes great interest and involvement to hold it all together. He does not hold it together from a remote location; He holds it together from the front line, hands- on.
A contemporary message that is out there today is “Black Lives Matter.” This is true, they do matter. But it is also true that white lives matter, as do brown and yellow and every tribe and tongue of every nation. They all matter to God.
The hairs on your head matter, as does the common sparrow. Matthew 10: 29-31 says “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Your thoughts and actions each day should be guided by the fact that what you do and say matters to God. The big and important things you do and say, as well as the small and perhaps unspoken things not considered important are observed by Him. It all matters.