When my son was young, he used to collect hockey cards. He enjoyed tearing open a new package of cards to see what treasures it might contain, and spent many enjoyable hours organizing and viewing his collection. He had great binders full of cards, all sorted by team, and more binders for the doubles of his most valuable cards. All these are in a box gathering cobwebs in my attic today.
At the time, though, they were very important to him. He would buy industry magazines that claimed to assign a value to each card. The value varied according to the prowess of the player, the ranking of the team, and the availability of a particular card.
It all seemed pretty subjective to me. When he got excited about a high value given to a card he owned, I would remind him that the cards were only worth what someone was willing to pay for them. Period. Everything else was pure speculation topped off with a generous dollop of wishful thinking.
What are those cards worth today? I’m afraid it might be less than what he paid for them. They did give him a lot of pleasure, though, and it was certainly a learning experience. Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
This is also true for the value of human life. Every day we see human life devalued due to political or religious ideology in terrorist bombings, corporate greed where workers are exploited in unsafe conditions, or personal expediency as unwanted children are sacrificed to abortion. How do we properly determine the value of human life? What are the criteria used to determine the worth of individuals like you and me?
What is somebody willing to pay? This is the bottom line of human value, as with anything else. The good news of Christianity is that human life is as valuable as the Son of God. According to the Bible in John 3:16, God loved us so much that he was willing to give his most highly prized Son in order to facilitate our redemption.
The picture is of someone’s most valuable possession being held for ransom by another. What would you be willing to pay to regain something that is precious to you? What would you be willing to pay to ransom a beloved child? I would guess that you would be willing to pay everything that you have. And so it is with God. Such is the price he paid to ransom us.
God’s love for us is so great that he gave his one, uniquely created Son, Jesus Christ, to buy us back, to pay our ransom, to redeem us from the death and destruction brought on us by the sin in our own hearts and in the world. In essence, he gave himself. We are worth all that to God because we are considered as his dearly loved children.
How much more then, should we value those around us! How much more should we value ourselves!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” – John 3:16 (NIV)
This is the value that God places on you and me.
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