Monday, 10 June 2013

How valuable are you? Thoughts for a May breakfast...

I've been thinking about value  a lot recently. Wondering what I value and if it is in line with what God values.

Value. The dictionary says that, apart from the monetary connotations, it means "to consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness, or importance; to regard or esteem highly: for example, He values her friendship."

Value implies intrinsic excellence or desirability. Value is "that quality of anything which renders it desirable or useful: e.g.,  the value of sunlight or good books."  It is about things - or people - we  prize and appreciate.
Value is about things we WANT.

Luke 16: 15 says: “... God knows your hearts.What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight."
I always read this as just being about money - which is the context - but there is always deeper meaning hidden in Jesus' words.

Because this passage IS about money and material possessions, but also about
ownership and achievement.
Position and progress.
Rights and reputation.
The whole of life.

The Message explains that we value appearance - what things look like on the outside.
"When the Pharisees, a money-obsessed bunch, heard him say these things, they rolled their eyes, dismissing him as hopelessly out of touch. So Jesus spoke to them: “You are masters at making yourselves look good in front of others, but God knows what’s behind the appearance.
What society sees and calls monumental,
God sees through and calls monstrous."

Jesus' words would have sparked recognition of God's words to Samuel, when he was choosing a king to succeed Saul; "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7)

Which of these do you think we tend to value most? Can you put them in order of most important? Any others?

Job status
Marital status
'Toys' - cars, boats, furnishings
Children's achievements
Dress, fashion
Facial appearance
Status in the community

These are all good things - but we are not to put more value on them than we ascribe to God. Nor should we value them above the things the Holy Spirit says are important: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22 - 23); wise counsel, clear understanding, simple trust, healing the sick, miraculous acts, proclamation,  distinguishing between spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:7 - 10, The Message)

But the bottom line is, that as we appreciate the value of what God has given us in Jesus - his life, his words, his love, his death - we dare to believe that we are of huge worth. God has sacrificed everything to find every one of us, however 'worthless' in the eyes of society. He tells stories of single sheep searched for, a coin discovered and a son restored to his family to show how much he values us.

"The Lord looks at the heart." Let our hearts look to Him and seek His values. Not ours. 

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