There’s a picture of a unicorn hanging in the foyer of my house. No really, the first thing people see upon entering my home is what I affectionately call “Rainbow Unicorn.” It has recently served as a visual reminder to me of Rivertree’s core value of “Believing People Matter,” not because we’re all special, unique, colorful unicorns… but maybe.
“Believing People Matter” is one of our core values and also serves as our monthly prayer emphasis as we continue pursuing what’s next by launching a new campus downtown. We believe people matter because we hold to the essential truth that every single, individual life has inherent value. When God created man and woman, he declared his creation to be “very good.” In Ephesians, we are referred to as “God’s masterpiece,” the pinnacle of his creative work.
Listen to how David understood God’s intimate involvement with creating him in Psalm 139.
You formed by innermost being,
shaping my delicate inside
and my intricate outside,
and wove them all together in my
I thank you, God, for making me so
Everything you do is marvelously
It simply amazes me to think about it.
How thoroughly you know me, Lord!
You even formed every bone in my
body when you created me in the
secret place, carefully, skillfully shaping
me to be before I became me!
David not only recognized God’s personal and intricate process of designing him, but he also understood God’s continued care and involvement with his present life and circumstances.
Every single moment you are thinking of me!
How precious and wonderful to consider
that you cherish me constantly in your every thought!
O God, your desires toward me are more
than the grains of sand on every shore!
When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.
David shared elsewhere that “God delights in every detail of our lives” (Psalm 37:23). David rested in the truth that God’s participation in his life enveloped the entirety of his life, from start to finish.
Before I’d ever seen the light of day,
the number of days you planned for me
were already recorded in your book.
David was centered around the truth that God created and cherished him, evidenced by God’s intimate involvement with forming him, delighting in him, and numbering his days before he was even born. The same is true of you. Your life matters because you are valuable, not because you bring value, which is often what we’re tempted to believe. God knitted you together in your mother’s womb, cares about every detail of your life, and is so personally involved in your story that he numbered your days before you were even born. You have great value.
I recently had the opportunity to excavate gemstones from a segment of compacted dirt. That sounds way more adventurous than the reality of it. I was working with a National Geographic kit designed for children, yet God showed up. The process was messy- dirty, dusty, and, at times, even muddy. As I utilized the provided tools, or toys, to unearth the gemstones, it struck me that legit archeologists must decide if the work of the dig is worth the value of the find. They must assess if what lies beneath is worth chipping away at the soil. In other words, the value of the gemstones determines the worth of the work.
This exercise spoke deeply to me about the incredible value God places on us. Instead of knitting us together, he could have stamped us out. Knitting takes time and is way more personal than the mass production of clothing within the garment industry. Instead of delighting in every detail of our lives, he could have made us and sent us on our way, offering no meaningful involvement. God’s meticulous and intimate engagement in our creation and re-creation speaks to how valuable we are to him. Ultimately, the sacrifice of the cross made by deity speaks to the great worth placed on humanity. John 3:16 reminds us that we mattered to him so much that he withheld nothing and gave everything. You can’t encounter the true gospel of Jesus and not be moved by the price he was willing to pay to recover us. How can we look at the scene of the cross and not believe we matter?
“Rainbow Unicorn” was painted by my daughter, Livi. She’s fairly critical of it, drawing attention to its flaws and imperfections. I, on the other hand, think it’s amazing. When I see it, I never demean her color choices or wish something about it was different. The painting has value to me because someone I immeasurably love made it. She wanted to throw it away. I put it on display. I do, however, often pick apart things about myself or things about other people that I wish were different. When I do this, I subtly, or perhaps not so subtly, operate with the assumption that God made a mistake. I look in the mirror at God’s “masterpiece” and wish I were a little more of this or a little less of that. All the while, God parades me around on his shoulders, delighting in me as his dearly loved son in whom he is well pleased. Perhaps this truth can free us to accept ourselves and one another. You have value. God proudly shows you off, drawing attention to you for the display of his splendor. You matter, and the cross is your evidence. God doesn’t make mistakes, only masterpieces. You are worth the work!