Thursday, October 1, 2009
“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
I have been thinking a lot about worth lately. How much are we worth? What is our value? Where do we get our value? Mark Yaconelli says that we are consumers who get our worth through what we have or consume; he says that we “are our appetites,” and that we are imprisoned within our material world (Yaconelli, p. 19). Marcus Borg, in The Heart of Christianity, says that we get our worth based on the “three A’s of our western culture: Appearance, achievement, and affluence (Borg, p. 116)." It seems as if both of these authors are attributing worth to an outside source or reference point. Worth is based on something else, someone else, or something other, as it is compared or contrasted.
There is an old saying that goes like this: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” This statement says that worth or value, like beauty, “is in the eye of the beholder.” It seems as if we ascribe value to something based on something else and that this value can fluctuate from one situation or person to another. For example, when we total the monetary value of the elements in our bodies and the value of the average person's skin, we arrive at a net worth of about $4.50 (www.coolquiz.com). Now, no one would take $4.50 for their life or give up their lives for $4.50. Value here must be contingent on something else; something outside of ourselves and our lives must give us value and worth. So how much are we worth?
It must be true that we are worth a lot more than we are worth. There is a paradox occurring. I am worth $4.50 and I am priceless. . . Our worth has been determined by our creator. As believers and followers of Christ, God has ascribed to us our value by the price that He paid for our redemption. Redemption is from the Greek word, “ 629 ἀπολύτρωσις [apolutrosis /ap•ol•oo•tro•sis/] a releasing effected by payment of ransom. REDEMPTION: deliverance or a liberation procured by the payment of a ransom (Strong)” We were bough at a price. God paid our debts and literally laid His life down for us. The statement that is made by God here is clear and strong, “You are worth my own life.” God has bought us with Himself. He gave His life for ours while we were in our sins and actively rebelling against God (John 3:16-18, Romans 3:23-27, Romans 5:6-11).
Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in us, whom we have from God, and that we are not your own. We were bought at a price; and therefore should glorify God in our bodies and in our spirit, which are God’s. We are worth far more than we are worth. Our value rests on God who is worth far more than we can imagine or conceive.
The U.S. Bureau of Chemistry and Soils has invested a lot of money and many a hard-earned tax dollar in calculating the chemical and mineral composition of the human body, which breaks down as follows: 65% Oxygen, 18% Carbon, 10% Hydrogen, 3% Nitrogen, 1.5% Calcium, 1% Phosphorous, 0.35% Potassium, 0.25% Sulfur, 0.15% Sodium, 0.15% Chlorine, 0.05% Magnesium, 0.0004% Iron, and 0.00004% Iodine. Additionally, it was discovered that our bodies contain trace quantities of fluorine, silicon, manganese, zinc, copper, aluminum, and arsenic. Together, all of the above amounts to less than one dollar (www.coolquiz.com)!
Jesus said this about our worth in Matthew 10: 29-31: “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” God tracks the hairs on my head! I don’t even do that! I have no idea how much hair is on my head, but God does. God counts them. God tracks the lives of little sparrows, and I am of more value than they are according to Jesus. I am of more valuable to Jesus than I am to myself. Wow!
We are also of more value than other parts of the creation. Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they (Matthew 6:26)?” Jesus also said, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep (Matthew 12:11-12)?” God values us more than animals and religious holy days. My $4.50, my junk, is God’s treasure.
Knowing that we are valuable to God, that it is God who has given us our worth, may we pray as Paul wrote in Colossians 1:12-17:
“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”
We exist because God wants us to exist. Our value is found in God. Our worth has been ascribed to us by our creator, in whom we have our value. When we are found in Him, we will be found priceless as He is and we will find our purpose and meaning in Him.
Finding my worth in Jesus,
Borg, Marcus. The Heart of Christianity. Harper San Francisco, 2003, 116.
Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Test of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurence of Each Word in Regular Order. electronic ed. Ontario : Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996, S. G629
The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Mt 10:29-31
The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. 1 Co 6:19-20
The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Mt 6:26
The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Mt 12:11-12
The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Col 1:12-17
Yaconelli, Mark. Downtime: Helping Teenagers Pray. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI. 2008, p. 19.