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Dan Mielke: What are you worth?

By Dan Mielke

Grace Baptist Church

What is the difference between value and worth?  This last week, my kids and I decided to climb up into our attic and look at the ‘valuable’ items which were stored there. These valuable items were coins, comics, and cards that I had saved up since I was their age.  I watched as their eyes sparkled with amazement as I showed them collectables they had never seen before.  I told them that we were going to gather up some items and seek to sell them to a traveling Pawnbroker.  With wide eyes the children asked me, “How much is this worth?  Daddy, how much is this worth?”  I told my kids, “The worth of an item is only in how much someone will pay for it.”

As I had never used any of the items, the value of what I had treasured and stored was equal to the price of the cardboard boxes they were kept in.  I reminded myself that, “The worth of an item is in the price someone will pay for it.”  This truth was tested, however, for while we were sorting through my childhood treasures, Google let me know that some of the items I had in storage had sold for considerable amounts.  When it came time to decide what items we were to take to the Pawnbroker, I was surprised by how much I wanted to keep.  Questions ran through my head like squirrels in spring.

“What if I get ripped off?  What if I sell it for less than it is worth…?”  It was then that I had to remind myself of the mantra.  “It is only worth what someone will pay for it.”

That afternoon we took our valuables to see what they were worth.  There was some good natured dickering and the Pawnbroker treated us fairly and respectfully, and we walked out with less items in our box and more money in our pockets.  We also walked out with an answer to the question, “Daddy, how much is this worth?”  “Whatever someone will pay for it.”

As I thought about the transaction, I wondered, “Were those items more valuable?  Did I get what they were worth?”  I smiled at my foolishness, because those items were not valuable to me at all.  They had stayed in storage unused for over a decade and to me they had no value.  It took the Pawnbroker to take an item with no value and give it some worth.

That made me think of the best and most atrocious pawn deal of all time, myself.  When I look at myself in light of eternity, I truly have no value.  I am a being of dust who is created by God, sustained by God, and truly useless to an all-powerful Creator.  In short, I am valueless in that I do not add anything to God.  Since I have no usefulness, I am both valueless and worth no more than the carbon box I am stored in.

Does that mean that you and I are worthless?  What is the worth of a person?  The Apostle Paul answers that question when he talks about the treasure of Christ that can dwell in us, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (II Cor 4:7)  Paul again compares our valueless state to the worth of Christ’s payment for us, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:6,8)  Christ was willing to die, the Priceless, for the worthless.

So are you worthless?  Do you live your life like my collectables?  Valueless, yet horded?  Do you seek to find worth alone in the attic of your life?   Remember that like the items in my attic, you and I have no intrinsic value.  We are children of earth, yet God showed His love towards us and was willing to pay an infinite price for defective goods.  So how much are people worth?  Whatever Someone was willing to pay for it.