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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Eighty-Fifth (Value)

I hope your week went well! Did anything interesting happen to you this week? We didn't have anything interesting happen, but we have had a very enjoyable week. I'm sure you're wondering what we're going to look at today, so let's dig in!

We've taken a look at value somewhat previously, in terms of idolizing, but we're going to take a look at a different side today. What is it that you value? Is it something material? Like a gift that meant a lot from someone close to you? Is it something emotional? Like a really close friendship with someone? Is it an idea? A location? A time you set aside to study scripture?

Have you thought about what Yehovah values? Or better yet, how much you are valued by Him? Jesus told us He values us more than many sparrows, which were worth half a farthing each then (Matthew 10:29-31). At least that's what the KJV says. When you look at other translations you find they say penny, or copper coin. Any way you look at it, this is a small amount of money. It kind of makes you wonder why this example was chosen, doesn't it?

Why pick a bird of relatively low value to contrast how valuable we are to the Father? Why not pick the most expensive animal to show we're more valuable than the most valuable animal in society at that moment? The whole idea in this passage is that God keeps these birds alive even though they are nearly worthless to man. In fact, when you read some commentaries on these verses you find that sparrows were so numerous they were almost like what we would consider rats or mice as they invade a home. In other words, the point is Yehovah values these invasive birds so much that He keeps them alive. I'm sure the disciples Jesus was speaking to already had a preconceived status of man compared to sparrows that likely consisted of them being priceless compared to that bird, so pointing out how God keeps them alive was an eye opening lesson.

As a side note, here is another example in scripture where we see it explicitly pointed out that Yehovah has a hand in literally everything in terms of how the universe operates. Jesus' truth here is that God determines if a sparrow, a seemingly insignificant creature, lives or dies. It's not just some random happenstance of nature.

What other references to value can we find? Well, Jesus was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, a fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophetic words (Matthew 27:9). At the time, this was worth a considerable amount. Some say a couple weeks pay, some say over a month's worth. These days, it looks like it's only worth between about $90 and $400. Regardless, Judas, after seeing what he did, tried to give the silver back. The regret overwhelmed him so much that he forgot Jesus' teachings over the course of His ministry about forgiveness. Jesus even said those that speak against the Son of man, meaning Himself, will be forgiven (Luke 12:10). So, despite Judas betraying Jesus there was still an opportunity for his forgiveness. Instead of repenting and asking for that forgiveness, Judas was overcome with the spirit of suicide and ended up hanging himself. To him, his value, based on his actions, was so low he was convinced it was better for him to take his own life.

We already know that God values us so much that He sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16). We also know that Jesus values us so much that He chose to die for us (2 Corinthians 5:15). Does that tell us something about what we should value? At a minimum, as hard as it may be some days, we should value ourselves at the same level They value us. But what does that actually mean?

Are we to value ourselves over others? Clearly not. Jesus didn't value Himself more than His disciples (John 13:12-16), so why should we value ourselves more than our neighbor? Because we believe in Jesus as our Savior? Because we have baskets of college diplomas? Because we have a Ferrari in the driveway? Jesus tells us there is no greater love than one that lays down his life for his friends (John 15:13). In other words, the epitome of love is that you consider your value so much less than your friend's value that you sacrifice yourself to spare them. But here's the paradox: isn't the end result of that event that your value ends up being greater than theirs in the grand scheme of things because the result of you "selling" your life by dying is that they live? Essentially, if you had done nothing, their life would have ended, but by making that choice you have restored their life to them.

Of course we're not supposed to value ourselves over others, but what about when others aren't involved? Let's say instead of sacrificing our life for another, what if it comes down to sacrificing ourselves, period? That's where things get interesting, because there are a couple different aspects to that.

We see that in Revelation, Satan, also called the accuser, accuses us day and night. We also see that those being accused, believers, rather than capitulating, giving in to accusations, were killed because of them (Revelation 12:10-11). They valued staying true to Jesus over their own lives.

We also see that Jesus has some words about day to day life and value. He tells another parable, as He does, about a rich man and his farm (Luke 12:16-21). In this parable, the rich man grows so much fruit he doesn't know what to do with it. He doesn't have enough space to store it so he decides to build bigger barns to store it all. But God says, who's going to get all that if you die tonight? Essentially, don't value such earthly things, and gather earthly treasures, be rich toward Yehovah.

Jesus also goes on to talk about the value of focusing on what to eat or wear. He said don't worry about that because God will provide (Luke 12:22-28). When you look at this passage, I think the picture Jesus is painting is two parts. First, we are not to desire achieving a lavish lifestyle. The rich foods and expensive clothes, much like the abundance of fruit for the rich man, are earthly things we should not value. Second, the focus of our lives should be on God, not those earthly things.

We need to value Godly things like understanding and studying His word, serving and sacrificing for others, and in general following His path for our lives. I've mentioned this in previous week's writings, and it's riddled throughout the New Testament, but worldly things are temporary (even our bodies!) and are to have no place in the hierarchy of things we value. This week, let's look for aspects of our lives that fall into the category of valuing worldly things above Godly things and work to correct that. Because if we don't take charge of ourselves in aspects like these, no one else will!

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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