How much are you worth?

How much am I worth?  One person added up the values of the different chemicals in the human body -a bit of phosphorous, a bit of calcium, a bit of oxygen etc.  It came out at $1. The tried to bump up things a bit, maybe you could sell your skin separately to be used as paper or tent making material.  That came out at about $3.50. 

They were American of course! Here in Europe we know that your market value is based on your ability to play football. That’s good news if you are Paul Pogba who moved from Juventus to Manchester United in 2016 for £89 million or Neymar who just cost Paris St Germain £200 million. It’s not so good news if your name is Colin Doyle. Last year he was playing for Blackpool. Bradford City came in and asked how much they could pay for him. His club checked and discovered he had a release clause meaning if someone else offered above an agreed amount then he was free to go.  Doyle went to Bradford for £1! In other words, he was worth less as a footballer than if they had sold his body parts on!

How much am I worth? It’s a big question. Our ancestors decided that black Africans weren’t worth that much. They were just property to be bought and sold as slaves. Many Africans were captured, transported in horrendous conditions and sold for work on cotton plantations or in domestic service. Similarly, for many years only land owners had the right to vote, then eventually all men and last of all women.

We value people by

Race

Class

Gender

Intellect

Looks

Popularity

So, whilst we don’t buy and sell each other -unless we are football club owners and the idea of selling off your body parts sounds both disgusting and ridiculous at the same time, we still set a value on each other. It’s not a monetary value but we have an idea about how much we are worth.

We may value others by how useful they are to us and what they can give to us. Selfishly we even do this in our relationships. We value our partners because they complete us, bring us joy, fulfilment, satisfaction. We value ourselves based on how useful we think we are to others.

This can lead to

Pride

I have an over-inflated sense of my own importance. I expect everyone else to pay attention to me. I become arrogant, I act like a bully, pushing my weight around, boasting, crushing others

Self-pity

I feel worthless.  I feel crushed and belittled by others. My experience may tell me I am worthless especially if others have used and abused me, especially if I feelt hat I have failed them and let them down.

But What does the Bible say about how much you are worth?

  1. You were made in the image of God so have great value

Genesis 1:26-27 says

“ Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

                        So God created human beings in his own image.                 In the image of God he created them;                 male and female he created them.”[1]

By the way, this does not mean that God has a human body. What it means is that God made us to represent him on this earth, that’s why we are made to rule over or look after his creation.It alsom means that we are meant to value the things God values, love, beauty, goodness, justice. It means that we are given characteristics like the ability to love, to be creative, to protect, to make wise decisions.

Note that these are applied equally to all human beings, male and female. This means that you do not have greater or lesser value based on race, gender, class, intellectual ability, football team etc.  All were made equal.

It also means that you are not just an animal. God made you special. Because God values us like this it means that we should treat each other with dignity and respect.  It’s why William Wilberforce realised that slavery was wrong and deeply wicked. It’s why we are to speak out for justice for the most vulnerable. It’s why racism is evil. It’s why we are told not to take life. It has implications for medical ethics. An unborn baby and a very elderly man with dementia are still human, still made in God’s image, still having that same value.

  1. But sin means that we are spoilt, damaged useless

Sadly, Adam and Eve chose to reject God’s love, care and commands. The bible tells us that they sinned by eating fruit from the tree that God had forbidden.  God warned them that if they ate that fruit, they would die.

Death came when Adam sinned.  Death does not just mean physical death but it mmeans separation from God. It means that we are no longer what we were meant to be. Paul in romans 3:23 calls this “falling short of God’s glory.” We no longer reflect that image as we should.

If we no longer reflect God’s glory. If we no longer fulfil his purpose for us of worshipping him and looking after his creation then what worth do we have. Actually, we need to acknowledge that we are worthless.

The Bible uses the image of a pottery where jars are being made. If the clay is marred then the potter can no longer make a beautiful vase -the work is useless, has no value and he might as well start again.

If you are filled with pride at your own importance, this truth should burst that bubble.

  1. God values you because he loves you

So, some of you will feel worthless, useless, damaged and dirty because of what you have done or because of what others have done to you. Maybe you’ve been treated like property, used and abused. Maybe you’ve abused your own body through drugs or casual sex. Maybe you feel the guilt and shame for how you’ve treated another.

The problem with shame is that we hide away thinking that we could never be restored, never forgiven, never loved again.

In the Garden of Eden, God came looking for Adam and Eve. They hid from him in shame.

But here is the good news

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”[2]

This is how much God loves you. Jesus came to earth to die for you. He did this to take your sin and shame and guilt on himself. He died so that you could live. His gift means that you can be reconciled to God.

You are valued not because of your importance, goodness, ability or popularity but because God who made you chooses to love you.

Conclusion – Your response

What is your response to God’s amazing love for you? I think the danger is often not so much that we don’t understand our own value but that we fail to value God. That’s what it means to worship or glorify him. We declare his value which is immense, infinite, boundless, eternal.

We are meant to respond to God’s love for us by placing our lives into his hands. We value him by receiving his grace, his forgiveness, his life.

[1] Genesis 1:26-27 (NLT).

[2] John 3:16 (NLT)

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