This simple truth is so obvious that you may think it’s hardly worth mentioning. But I have struggled over the years to realise just how much God loves people and how important we are to Him.

So often, life seems to be made up of ‘to do’ lists. There are so many things to tackle in everyday life: shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, going to work and so on. Then there are all the things we clutter our lives with: books, DVDs, magazines, cinema trips, days out, gardening, DIY. All this stuff (remember Stephen’s sermon God Space from this April?) takes time and church can easily become just another thing on the ‘to do’ list. More worryingly, even God can become relegated to just another ‘to do’ thing!

If you’re like me, it’s easier to focus on the stuff than on God and on people. Stuff is controllable; people and God aren’t! Stuff can give us a sense of achievement and purpose. I love making lists and ticking things off the lists as I accomplish them. It makes me feel purposeful and as though I’ve done something meaningful with the day (O.K., most of the stuff on the list is basic and I’ve hardly climbed Everest, but it still sort of justifies my existence, if that makes sense…)

One of the things God has had to teach me over and over again (because I’m obviously slow in learning this one!) is that people matter more than stuff. Taking time out to listen to people is important. Spending time with people is important. People are more important than cleaning the house or going shopping or writing reports or … just about anything else on the ‘to do’ list. I learnt this lesson most powerfully through reading a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer that said “We must be prepared to have God interrupt us.” (see Daily Interruptions)

People are messy. They have problems we can’t solve. They have different temperaments to us and don’t react the way we think they should. They are fickle, unreliable, often bad-tempered and frequently irritating. But people are also kind, compassionate, trustworthy, loving and forgiving. God loves people so much He gave His only Son to die for them (John 3:16 TNIV).

‘We should confess, we lose You in our busyness.’
‘Could it be that You would really rather die than live without us?’ (Michael Card)

‘Know You In The Now’/’Could It Be’, Michael Card

When we finally stand before God, I don’t think our ‘to do’ lists will mean very much. I don’t think He’ll care that much about our tidy houses or our pristine gardens or our academic achievements or our well-paid jobs. I think He cares about how much and how well we’ve loved people, because He is love.