Conference LiveBlog: John Ortberg, Author and Pastor of the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California
This evening, John Ortberg, pastor at the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California, spoke from the conference mainstage about why it is important to value every individual person with help and with compassion, because every person is worthy of God’s love.
Highlights from Pastor Ortberg’s Speech
I’d like to take a few moments to think with you why it’s worth all the labor, all the sacrifice to relieve suffering and battle poverty, when you’re only one person. What it’s really about is the worth of a single human being. It’s because human beings are all around us.
In the ancient world, there was the concept that every person, whether they are part of your tribe or nation, are worthy of your compassion. That’s an important concept.
This idea that human beings have a dignity or a worth or a value isn’t always something that has been present on this planet. But a man named Jesus taught about this. What is the worth of a single human being? Jesus would teach that if your ox falls into the well, will you not fish it out?
The hairs of your head are numbered.
We may begin to think that the goal of our life is to maintain a balanced, manageable life. After I first visited Ethiopia, I returned home to my baby daughter and thought, ‘Those children in Ethiopia do not hope that I live a balanced and manageable life.’
Sometimes people motivated by God’s love do things for no strategic reason at all.
Jesus is saying that every person who is hurt, abused, ravaged by disease, without shelter, without food–every one is worth more than you can possibly imagine. Every one of them carries the image of God.
Here’s the deal. It’s called Opportunity International. Here’s the opportunity: you and I get to be, in some strange way–when we actually give, actually serve–we get to be like the hands and feet of God.
Martin Luther King used to talk about the idea of “somebodyness.” And it’s not about how much money or talent someone has, it’s just because everyone is somebody. We all get to be the hands and feet of God to love somebody. That’s the greatest opportunity any human being has ever had.
A bit about Pastor Ortberg
John Ortberg is pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, a multi-campus church in California with more than 4,000 members. His teaching brings Scripture alive and invariably includes practical applications and warm humor. John is the best-selling author of several books, including When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box; If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat; The Life You’ve Always Wanted; Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them; Faith and Doubt; Love Beyond Reason; Know Doubt: The Importance of Embracing Uncertainty in Your Faith; Look Through God-Colored Glasses; and most recently, The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You. He has written for Christianity Today and is a frequent contributor to Leadership Journal.