Updated: Nov 7, 2018
19 years ago—a lifetime for some of you—I sat in a café on a calm, Canadian spring afternoon, drinking a smooth, warm beverage. I was enjoying the spring sun, the smell of fresh grass, the clean air. I can even remember the smell of the café. Leaning back into my chair I enjoyed the moment—a rare moment of peace.
I noticed an old man sitting nearby whose weathered face was full of age and wisdom, his hands worn from work. I could tell he was an experienced man. He looked as though he had been there before. He had walked in my shoes.
We struck up a conversation. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, but I do recall it was about issues and questions about life that I had wrestled with. He had a depth of knowledge and understanding that impressed my young mind.
It was then that I had a moment of awakening which has kept that day in my memory for nearly 20 years.
I thought, “Wow. I have experienced a great deal for a 19-year-old, yet I am only a quarter of his 80 years. How much more he must know than I.”
It was the first time in my teenage years that I realized I did not know everything. In fact, I didn’t know much at all. It hit me like a ton of bricks. My life suddenly changed.
I was humbled.
I was not as perfect as I thought I was.
19 years later, as a distant reflection of that young man, I have learned much more, but have also become increasingly aware of my limitations. Perfection is not my best asset. In fact, it is not one of my assets at all, even though I’ve been a pastor for well over a decade.
And in working with young adults and youth for most of my time in ministry, I have come to the realization that…well…you are not perfect either.
None of us are.
That creates what I call a level playing field.
Another thing that makes us the same is we are all affected by this world. Often when I speak with people I hear heartache. Many are broke, or have done some messed-up things. Some have been mistreated. I hear pain and sadness. I hear questions. I see need.
I see a search for more. There has to be more than this, right?
The good news is that no matter what our past was—no matter how imperfect we are—every one of us is beautiful to God.
We are equal.
As a 19-year-old, I was just as valuable as that old, wise man. Our flaws, no matter how large or obvious, don’t lessen our value to our Creator.
That is the beauty of God. He loves everyone the same.
Deut. 10:17 says, “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.”
“For God does not show favoritism,” Romans 2:11.
We are all on the same level, and fortunately for us, we are also equally under God’s grace and forgiveness. Believe it or not, I still don’t know everything. But this I do know: God is more. Let’s move forward together to search for, and find, More.