Determining Value

In my eighth grade language arts class we are studying the book Treasure Island. A couple questions we are discussing as we study the book is, “What do we treasure?” and “What determines value?” How do we know something is valuable? By human standards something is considered valuable if quantities are limited, if the item is hard to acquire, or is extremely old. Thus we have certain metals that are deemed “precious metals,” because they exist in limited quantities, and are hard to acquire. Often marketing campaigns are based on the idea of limited supply. If the marketer can convince buyers that “quantities are limited!” the value seems higher. Just the other day I stopped at a fruit stand to buy some watermelon. The guy was selling them for a good price, but when I mentioned that Wal-mart (just up the road) wasn’t even carrying watermelon this week, he jokingly replied that he should double his price. But perhaps the defining factor in value for each human individual is sentimentality. Thus the saying, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” We value things because of how they make us feel. Old love letters, family heirlooms, a gift from a loved one now gone, all become things of great value.

What we often miss as believers is the difference in our methods of determining value and God’s methods. God’s highest value is His own glory. Immediately we recoil from the idea. It seems self absorbed. But if we approach this truth logically we understand that God is rightly concerned for His own glory. If God is perfect, holy, just, and righteous, as Scripture claims, then there is nothing else in this life that can compare with Him. He is of highest worth and value. Since God is also perfect truth, He is completely right to acknowledge His own worth and value.

Because God is most concerned with His glory, anything that honors Him is of great value. That is where creation comes in. God created the world, each plant, each sea creature, each tiny sparrow to expose a part of Himself. Then came His crowning achievement–man. God created man in His own image with a mind to think, emotions to feel, and a will to follow God voluntarily. Nothing else in creation can substitute for humans in their capability to give God honor.

Too often in our culture, I hear suggestions that we are valuable to God in the same way a puppy might be valuable to us.  In other words, we are cute and helpless and in need of attention. Therefore, God just looks at us and can’t get over how adorable we are. He goes to mush over us because we are so special. But God does not value us based on sentimentality.

The truth that Scripture teaches is that we are enemies of God, wicked, broken, self absorbed, and putrid, dying from the disease of sin. There is nothing irresistible about us. God values us because of who He is…because of His great worth. He values us because we are made in His image, made to worship and enjoy Him, made to expose His glory to all of creation. God doesn’t value us because we are cute and needy. He values us because of His own great worth. We derive value not from our abilities or inabilities. We derive value from God Himself.


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