My husband ordered a piece of cinnamon bread at our local coffee shop. The barista kindly asked, “Which do you prefer– an edge piece or a middle piece?” It struck me as such a kind and intentional thing to ask and I told her so.
“It matters, you know?” she said. “I find that edge people take their edges very seriously.”
“I get it,” I nodded. “I way prefer a middle piece and might even pass altogether if someone offers me a piece from the edge.”
The girl in front of me with the slicked back ponytail and cute faded jeans smiled at me. “I also love a middle piece. It feels so much fresher that way.”
“Agreed!” I nodded.
How about you? Would you rather have a piece of coffee cake, or better yet a brownie, from the edge of a pan or from the middle of the pan?
Here’s the lie–one kind of person is better than the other. Sure, I want a middle piece every single time and might even pass altogether if someone offers me a brownie from the edge of the pan. My preferences are part of me and that’s great.
But the truth is that doesn’t make me any better or worse than my husband who likes the crunchy edge piece. Because Jesus made both middle and edge people on purpose and absolutely adores us all.
Sounds silly when we’re talking about our favorite pieces of cake, but it gets a bit blurry when we talk about other character traits that Jesus just as intentionally put in me and in you.
Jesus made people who are bold and confrontational as well as people who are timid and gentle.
Jesus made people who need to verbally process everything out loud and people who need to run everything through their brain prior to speaking.
Jesus made some of us who prefer to be with all their people at once and others of us who prefer one-on-one time with their favorite folks.
Jesus created and adores walkers and runners, coffee and tea drinkers, emotional and composed people, early birds and night owls, republicans and democrats, country music and classical music composers, artists, and listeners, fast talkers and slow speakers, sports and symphony fans, meat eaters and vegetarians, debaters and peace makers, and He loves each and every one of us.
Some of these are harder for us to believe and live out than others. Sometimes we automatically think less of him or her because they fit into one of these categories. Sometimes we think less of ourselves because we label ourselves as one of these things and wish we were different.
But Jesus made YOU in His image. He delights in YOU. He calls YOU His masterpiece.
He also made “them” in His image. He delights in “them”. He calls “them” His masterpieces.
Jesus tells us, “Love our neighbor as ourselves.” This is one of HIs top two out of all the commands.
Are we loving ourselves?
My first challenge to you and me this week is to look ourselves in the mirror each morning and each night and say, “I love you. I love that… (and say something you love about yourself–that you snort when you laugh, cannot stand still if you hear good music, make remarkably good guacamole, etc. ). Say something different each day.
Challenge number two (are you ready?): Each night let’s say one thing we like about somebody who bugged us that day. I know. I know. They really drove you crazy, but remember God still loves them as fiercely and unconditionally as He loves you.
And after all, somebody has to eat the edge AND the middle pieces or else we’d end up throwing away so many brownies. Which would be a tragedy.
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Laura L. Smith