TONY ELDER: God is interested in shaping us all as unique individuals to serve Him

Recently, someone introduced me to a new world -- the world of electric trains.

Although I knew there were hobbyists who enjoyed that pursuit, I didn't realize the extent of their efforts. I had pictured a simple little train chugging around an oval track, like the one I had received at Christmas when I was a youngster. It was fun, but it only held a kid's attention for so long.

But on this day I discovered how creativity has taken that hobby to a different level. I saw tracks of various shapes, with numerous electrical switches to alter how and where the train would run. I was shown multi-level tracks.

But what surprised me most was the vast variety of villages and landscapes that can be built all around those tracks. There are kits from which all kinds of buildings can be constructed.

You don't just have to purchase ready-made figures to populate your village. You can build your own people, including painting them and putting certain arms on them, depending on what task you want them to be doing.

Some of those figures that accompany smaller trains were so miniscule that a person has to paint them under a magnifying glass. I was amazed at such detailed work that went along with this hobby.

That encounter with the world of electric trains reminded me of our Creator and His interest in the world in which we live. No, we're not just playthings for Him to toy with. Neither are we a hobby that He only pays attention to in His spare time.

But we are part of a world that He has created, and His concern for us goes beyond that of a master-builder to the deep love of a Father.

In one sense we are very tiny and insignificant compared to the One who has made us. It's no wonder the Psalmist asked the Creator, "What is man that You are mindful of Him?"

But God does indeed consider us. We're a special creation to Him. He has made us in His own image, "a little lower than the angels", and has crowned us with glory and honor (Psalm 8:4-5).

Furthermore, God isn't just concerned about the train of His overall purposes for this world as it barrels along on its track day after day toward its God-ordained destination. He cares about all the details in His design too.

He is concerned about each individual person who populates this world He has made. He not only brought us into existence, but He is interested in working on us to make us into the unique individual He has envisioned us to be.

He doesn't just paint us with one big blob of Christlikeness. He puts each of us under the magnifying glass and works on the various areas of our lives which need to be cleaned up in order for us to become the holy person He has called us to be.

He dabs a little love and kindness here, and a little patience and perseverance there. He molds us and empowers us to serve Him and to fulfill His particular purpose for us in this world.

We are so small compared to the One who is running this place. But we are important to Him -- every one of us. He is intent on loving us and doing a work of transformation in us according to His good purposes.

My old electric train is stored away somewhere in our basement. I think I'll go find it. It may not run, but if nothing else it can serve as a reminder that God cares about us and every aspect of our lives.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.