The following is the Scott’s article for the upcoming September Newsletter.
A few years ago Starbucks came out with an ad campaign that was summed up in two simple words, “Everything Matters!” Their simple premise was that at Starbucks, everything matters—from the quality of the coffee to the relationship with the coffee growers to the environment of their coffee shops to the cleanliness of the restrooms. For them, everything mattered because they strived to make the Starbucks experience a quality one for everyone. All it takes is one bad experience, one cold cup of coffee, one messy restroom and customer goes elsewhere. Starbucks knew that from the biggest idea to the smallest detail—everything does matter!
In the Old Testament—the book of Malachi to be exact—we discover that for God everything matters. In Malachi 1:6-14, God is having a conversation with the priests of Israel. Essentially, God is not too pleased because the priests are using blind, sick, and lame animals for their sacrifices to God. God says, “A son honors his father and a master honors his servants, why than do you dishonor me by sacrificing to me blemished lambs?” To the priests and Israelites, worship no longer held a priority. In fact, honoring God with their lives had taken a backseat. They resorted to giving God less than their best. As Eugene Peterson translates it in The Message, “…when you do offer something to me (God), it’s a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I’m going to accept it? This is God speaking to you.” To the Israelites, it no longer mattered what they offered to God or the quality of their faithfulness.
I’m not suggesting or even proposing that we engage in neurotic perfectionism when it comes to living out our spiritual journey. What I am inviting us to consider is the possibility that living a God-honoring life entails giving it our best both individually and corporately. Individually, this means that the choices we make each day go a long ways towards determining the kinds of people we will become. Our daily chooses do truly shape and form who we are. Consequently, everything does matter when it comes to living our lives and the choices we makes.
As a congregation—a church—the phrase “Everything Matters” takes on real importance. To provide quality worship, quality Sunday School classes, and a quality environment is a form of hospitality. This means that everything needs to matter as we think about how we prepare, the condition of our facilities, and the cleanliness of our facilities. Everything matters when it comes to preparing a lesson, preparing a sermon, or even planning for worship. Everything matters when it comes to leading a committee meeting, preparing for Monthly Meeting, or organizing a special event and program at the church. Everything matters when it comes to announcing upcoming events to the choices of hymns for worship. Everything matters when it comes to greeting visitors to following up on friends we have not seen in awhile. Everything matters when it comes to caring for our sick and homebound to providing a safe and healing environment for those struggling in their lives, struggling in their marriages, and needing encouragement. Everything matters!
To be sure, we won’t always get it right and we will make mistakes. That’s bound to happen but that doesn’t mean we can’t have as our highest aspiration to live lives that honor God by giving it our best. As a meeting and congregation, we honor God best by being faithful stewards of what we have been given and giving it our best when we plan, administrate, teach, welcome, organize, communicate, lead, and even manage our facilities. God gives us many chances but sometimes those who visit our worship and facilities might only give us one chance. For that reason, everything matters!