Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Important Matters

Not that it matters much, but lately I’ve been bumping up against the word “matter.”

First, I came across this word in a sermon title of a colleague, “You Matter To God.” Next, I saw it in a New York Times review of a book titled, “Success Built To Last.” The first element of lasting success in work is, “What you do must matter deeply to you.” Then, looking for a book on my bookshelf I saw a book titled, “Faith Matters.”

Although the most common definition of “matter” is “what something is made of,” the meaning I’m concerned with is, “something of importance or significance.” When we say that something or someone matters to us, we are saying that they are important to us. And, if something matters deeply to us, then it is of great importance to us.

When I ask myself the question, “What really matters to me?” the answer comes quickly: my family. There is my immediate family of Donna, Brandon and Matthew, and my larger family, including parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. And there is also my extended family of friends and colleagues.

The people that matter most to me are the people with whom I share life and love. When we love someone, they immediately matter to us, which is to say that they become important to us.

In that marvelous fable, The Little Prince by St. Exupery, the fox who is the wisest of creatures says, “It is only with the heart that one sees rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” I think what St. Exupery was telling us was that what matters most in life are not material things but invisible love.

If my colleague’s sermon title is right (and I believe it is), each of us matters to God. How much do we matter? Tremendously. Not only did God create us, giving us the gift of life, God provided a fruitful earth to nourish and sustain us.

Paul was astounded at how much we matter to God when he wrote, “Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” On the cross, we see how greatly we matter to God.

I believe the reason we matter so deeply to God is because we are God’s children. And, if we are God’s children, then we are brothers and sisters to each other. We are all part of the human family created out of love by God.

So then, let us show others that they matter to us in words and deeds. For showing love is a very important matter!

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