Soul Fitness - God's Photo Album

It is estimated that 105 billion people have lived on this planet, according to PubMed.gov. That is a huge number. Best estimates say the world population is currently around seven billion. Can you wrap your mind around 105 billion, let alone seven billion? That means that God created that many human beings with each birth a continuation of His creative process.

If God had a photo album and had one page for each person, that would be 105 billion pages. There is a space and name for each person. There is a photo, too. For those who have chosen to accept Jesus’ sacrifice to cover their unworthiness, there are candid photos of their life here on earth, not just the “school” photo.

Think of all the names throughout the ages: Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Seth, Abraham, Moses, David, Nebuchadnezzar, Jezebel, Esther, Ruth, Ehud, Jacob, Esau, Judas, Peter, and Paul. More recent names in secular society include Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Ghandi, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Pope Francis, Ted Bundy, Daniel Boone, Jeffrey Daumer, Donald Trump, Joseph Biden, Kamala Harris and Mike Pence. Are all these names in the photo album? I believe so. God created them.

We don’t know the hearts of every person who has ever lived on this earth. Only God knows. And God is the curator of His photo album — not us! He is also the curator of our hearts, if we allow Him to be.

When Jesus left this earth for heaven after His resurrection, He gave us specific instructions. Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven,” (emphasis mine, ESV).

As I understand it, our job here on this earth is to glorify God. According to Matthew 28:19 and 20, our commission is to make disciples and teach them. My question is, where does the Bible say that we are to determine who is worthy to come to God, to come to our church or to be in God’s presence?

Matthew makes it clear that we are not to judge others. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce, you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you,” (Matthew 7:1,2 ESV).

Jesus continues in verses three through five when He shares the example of the log and the speck. Reread it for yourself. What are we to do? Are we “defenders” of God or reflectors of Him?

The book of John contains at least four references to loving others. In John 13:34 and 35 Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another,” (emphasis mine, ESV).

To me, this means that a person’s religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender identity, financial or social standing, what they wear, the color of their hair or how they sound or smell, we are called to love them, just as Jesus has loved us. Simple, right?

I struggle with compassion, empathy and judging others. It’s a product of the church I grew up in and the resulting choices I’ve made. It’s a constant battle. Jesus helps me. He encourages me to put myself in places and situations where I can exercise my compassion and empathy muscles.

Micah 6:8 tells us: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God” (emphasis mine, ESV). I have yet to find where God has directed me to judge whether someone is worthy or not.

Personally, I want to be in God’s photo album, not just my “school” picture, but to have my life memorialized on my page in His album. I want Him to see that I have loved others, just as He has and does love me. Will you join me in sending pictures for your album page?

Author

Eve Rusk

Idaho Conference communication director
Section