Ever watch the “Antiques Roadshow”? It’s a TV program that goes from city to city with a group of expert appraisers who evaluate the treasures people bring in. The show is eclectic in that you learn about the history of diverse items. Everything from vases and furniture to jewlery and sports memorabilia.
For those individuals selected to be on camera with their item, the question they want answered is “How much is it worth?” Many nearly foam at the mouth in anticipation of the answer. Some people have paid a lot of money for their item and want to be told they made a good investment. Others have an antique given to or passed down to them. It has sentimental value because it belonged to their Aunt Mabel and they would never sell it because it belonged to her. At least that’s what they say before they find out the vase is worth $30,000. Then they start reasoning on second thought they were never really that close to Aunt Mabel.
What’s it worth? That’s the question. And it’s an important one. Not just in wondering the value of your grandmother’s antique ivory hat pin, but what are you worth? More accurately, where does your value as a person come from?
There are two kinds of worth: “inherent worth” and “imputed worth”.
Inherent worth is based on a quality.
Imputed worth is based on the value ascribed by another.
In my Bible I carry a dollar bill. Specifically it is a 1935 Series A Silver Certificate with “HAWAII” in black block letters stamped on the back. It’s a piece of family history. During World War II, three of my great uncles served in the military. Uncle Ev was an Army Captain in Europe, awarded a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. My Uncle Russ was on a destroyer in the Navy. My Uncle Al was in the Army in Hawaii. They didn’t see each other for over three years during the war.
In the spring of 1945, Uncle Al was back home on leave. The family was having a picnic at Sylvania Park in Fairmont, Minnesota when the news broke that the Allied forces had won victory in Europe. VE Day – May 8, 1945.
Having three brothers in the military, this was wonderful news. They felt they should do something to mark the moment so Uncle Al pulled out several one dollar bills which they passed around and everyone signed. The bill has signatures from 8 family members, including my Dad who was ten years old at the time.
The inherent worth of this piece of currency is one dollar. To the clerk at Circle K, it’s enough to buy an Icee. Yet to me, it’s worth far more than a dollar. The imputed worth of this dollar bill is priceless. I wouldn’t part with it because of the value I’ve placed on it as part of my family history.
When the question is asked, “What are you worth?”, God answers the question with, “You are worth the price of my only Son.” Humanly speaking, it’s a surprising answer. Because the people in question aren’t highly polished people of refined quality. On our best day, we’re a mess. We’re sinners. We all fall short of God’s standard of perfection. Yet God in His matchless grace says we are worth dying for.
Until we take to heart the fact that our worth is based in Jesus Christ and that our worth is imputed by God, we’ll never experience the peaceful security that God wants us to know.
The temptation is to believe God loves us for what we do or how we perform. But He doesn’t. God doesn’t value us for what we do or accomplish. He doesn’t value you because you’re a brilliant engineer or because you’re a successful business woman. He doesn’t value you because you’ve never missed going to church in 30 years. He doesn’t value you because you’ve got ten Division I schools knocking on your door to grab your athletic talent. God doesn’t value you for the greatest thing you’ve ever done. God values you because he willingly paid the price of His only Son for you.
Your value, your worth, has been imputed to you by God the Father. The Lord of Creation. The King of Kings. The eternal sovereign God of the universe. That’s where your worth is.
Whether you feel like it or not, you are of infinite value to God. If you’re feeling beat up and behind, torn and tired, guilty and grieving, remember you are priceless to God and ask yourself this question:
If God paid the ultimate price for me, why wouldn’t He take care of every other detail in my life?
“For God showed His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Jesus Christ died for us.”
– Romans 5:8
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are.”
– 1 John 3:1
Todd A. Thompson – December 28, 2006