Jesus Likes Me Best

This post is about you, yes, you there, that’s right.

For a moment, you hoped I was referring to you but immediately dismissed the idea as crazy and self-centered. I couldn’t possibly be writing about you! Wrong. I am.

See, I like to think I’m God’s favorite child. I fancy that He loves me more than His other children. I like to believe that Jesus likes me best. I’m passionate about Him, verbal, articulate, expressive in worship, and enthusiastic about the kingdom. I’m not perfect, far from it, but certainly He favors those of us who can fill His ears with eloquent and poetic prayers, right? Yeah, no.

Jesus has made it clear that’s not the case. 

It doesn’t even make sense that Jesus loves the loud more than the quiet because where, then, would that leave you, loved one?

You’re reserved. You worship quietly without fanfare or overt swaying. You don’t speak often in church because you feel a little tongue-tied and there are lots of people there who say exactly what you feel without stumbling for words. You love Jesus and you desperately desire to please Him but it’s challenging to express it the way others do.

You don’t feel gifted in showy ways but you enjoy serving Jesus any way you can. You don’t share much in small group because that’s not your thing but you love to hear what others share and you enjoy your quiet times with God. You have similar thoughts to the ones who do all the talking but by the time it’s your turn, they’ve already said it well so, why add on?

You’re not afraid to be up front or to lead but it’s not something you do. There are plenty of other people doing that. You’re not really under-confident. It’s just not your thing. You like serving behind the scenes. You see things that others miss. You don’t need all that attention and you can handle details quietly without a lot of fuss.

There is a problem, though. Just as I like to think I’m God’s favorite child, you often think I am, too.

You imagine He most enjoys the speakers, the leaders, the performers, and the teachers – that His eye is as captivated by them as everyone else’s seems to be. Oh, you know He loves you, but sort of with that blanket love with which He covers everyone. You don’t imagine He’d set you aside for any special task or take any particular note of you sitting quietly at small group while others pray aloud or share their insight.

Jesus wants you to know that I am NOT His favorite. Neither was Peter. Neither is your small group leader or this morning’s soloist or your fellow pastor with all the charisma and the gift for engaging illustrations. Jesus loves us, that’s true. He enjoys us and revels in our expression of who we are, I have no doubt.

But He revels in you, too, quiet loved one. Those acts of service you perform in obscurity? He points them out to the heavenly host and says, “There. Did you see that? Notice his faithfulness even when no one is looking. Mark that down.” Those thoughts you have when others are speaking or sharing that you never quite manage to utter aloud? He hears them. He gets excited at your understanding and your silent observations. He nods and smiles when you learn something new even when no one else is aware.

Jesus isn’t so entranced by the hand waving and solo singing that He is distracted from seeing your spirit soar even while your body stands still during the service. He is just as present behind the scenes watching you handle details others neglect or forget, hearing you quietly hum a praise song, encourage a shy child, or slip $20. to that struggling single mom. He revels in the child you are and drinks in every word of your silent prayers.

We hear stories of Peter, Matthew, John, and James, We read their books. We know their antics and their joys. But there were other disciples about whom we know so little. Philip, Bartholomew, James the less, or Jude. Their stories aren’t headlines in our scriptures but beside the throne of heaven there await twelve thrones reserved for them all. A place of honor for the outwardly expressive disciple and the same honor for the one who is more contained about her love.

Likewise, it’s vital that you remember the sin you harbor can cripple the body of Christ just as easily as those whose stumbles are loud and public. When God calls you to obedience or to a particular ministry, if you tell no one and don’t follow through, we all suffer for it. And those insights you keep to yourself, we need those, even if you may need to be creative in finding a way to share them (maybe a private note or coffee one-on-one).

In high school, I spent one school year playing bass clarinet. It’s not a showy instrument and there were no solos. In fact, the audience would be hard-pressed to describe what bass clarinet adds to any piece. If it weren’t there, however, the music would not be as rich. The experience would be lacking. The music less nuanced and textured. I loved the sound of the bass. I preferred the singular line of notes I followed to almost any other in the entire orchestra. I was happy because it was the perfect instrument for me.

God knows how to put together a perfect ensemble. We need you, my quiet sister and my reserved brother. Jesus revels in you and follows your every move. You are as treasured in the kingdom as all of us who freely communicate or perform without hesitation. In every musical piece, the rests are as important as the whole notes.

And sometimes there’s a time for the quiet to speak out. Who knows? You may be Jesus’ stealth weapon in the battle for the souls here on earth. Are you ready to be His surprise to us all?

Maybe this is a place where you can share your experience of being the quiet one in the family of God. What do we need to know about you? What are your joys? Your challenges? Tell us here. We’re listening.

Almost time to reveal my big book announcement! I’ve had a couple of guesses but no one’s figured it out. How about YOU? I’ve given you clues in the past two posts. Contact me with  your guess and if you get it right, I’ll let you in on it before everyone else!

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1 Comment

    The Conversation

  1. Maxine D says:

    Thought provoking – thanks Lori. I have become generally a lot quieter than I was, but if I am convinced that what I have is needed, I will speak… Love your analogy of music needing the quiet notes and the rests.