Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
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Seeds of the Kingdom

Dots and Stars

by Dean Gardner

10 January 2021

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But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8, NASB

I have a book in my bookcase called, ‘You Are Special’, written by Max Lucado. Some might describe it as a children’s book. But I have to confess that I have a copy of my own, because its simple story so touched my own heart, when I first read it at Ellel Grange. The book tells of a town of small wooden people, called Wemmicks, who are forever going around placing stickers on each other. They either stick a gold star to show that another Wemmick is doing well (in their opinion), or a grey dot to show that, in their eyes, the poor Wemmick is not doing well at all.

The central character of the story is one sad little Wemmick, called Punchinello, who only ever gets grey dots, and never gold stars. The turning point comes when he meets a girl Wemmick called Lucia, who has neither stars nor dots, and he begins a journey of finding his true value and significance. I’ll have to leave you to find out the end of the story, if you’ve never read it.

It’s easy to understand what it’s like to have ‘grey dots’ placed on us by others. They are the negative words, the harsh looks, the criticism, and rejection that leave us feeling crushed and worthless. But what about the stars? It’s nice to be praised when we are doing well. We all need to be able to receive genuine, sincere praise and affirmation from others, but there is praise that’s earthly and superficial, here today and gone tomorrow, that can turn to criticism in a moment, when we no longer meet a person’s needs or suit the fashion of the times.

Jesus warned us to be on our guard when all speak well of us. He said that at a time in His ministry when He was popular, and the crowds were following Him. Yet, only a few years later, another crowd was calling for His death. I know there have been times when I have looked for affirmation from others that wasn’t from God and never met my deep inner need for security. When I hear God affirming me, though, it’s different. I stand up on the inside, and what other people think of me, whether good or bad, fades in importance.

Perhaps, like Punchinello, you feel as if you are covered with grey dots through the negative opinions and judgements of others. Perhaps you have picked up some gold stars that look good, but have never satisfied that ache deep within your heart to be loved for who you really are. Our verse today reminds us that Jesus loved us and died on the cross, knowing the worst about us. Come to Him today, just as you are, and let Him show you your value and worth in His eyes, so that you can begin to live free of the dots and stars of others.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for showing me my true worth by dying for my sins on the cross. Please help me to rely on Your love for me instead of the opinions or words of others. Amen.

Dean Gardner worked part time in the Ellel Grange Ministry Office for four and a half years until October 2018 and is now part of the Associate teaching and ministry team. He now lives in Norfolk with his wife Gemma. In 1988 he experienced God`s amazing grace at a carol service and began a journey of restoration and healing with Jesus. He longs to continue that journey allowing God`s truth to change his own life but also to share that truth with others that they too might know Jesus for themselves.


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