There are lots of things that God seems to have been repeating lately. One is “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Another is “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
All awesome verses from the Bible. And another thing, more of a concept than just one particular verse, which I have been meditating on probably for a couple of weeks now, is the concept of value and worth.
That is, value and worth in God’s economy. God’s economy – whatever you might think or know of this concept, be sure of this: it is unlike the world’s economy. Its means of transaction is by faith. It often increases by multiplication, rather than addition, and can work with the most unusual of resources. For example, five loaves and two fish are enough to feed a crowd of thousands. He supplies not according to any old measure but ‘according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19). He is not a stingy God. One of Jesus’ specific mission targets was that He came to give life more abundantly (John 10:10) – He is not happy when any life is shown to have had things stolen, killed or destroyed by the devil.
That is rather a short summary of what really deserves a lot more attention and teaching, hopefully I can address that sometime in the near future. When we understand the nature of God that affects and changes our faith and the way we behave towards others too so I believe this kind of understanding is important to grasp.
One of the areas I believe we also need to adjust our thinking to God’s way of thinking, is in how we value people – and indeed ourselves. When I say value I mean a lot of things, but in particular how we honour them for their time and gifts, but not only that, how we see the POTENTIAL that is in them as beings created in the image of God Himself. How we honour who God made them to be. And how we see ourselves as we are in God’s eyes.
One of the things that really struck me recently is that so many of us have been tied into the world’s system which basically uses pay packets and wages to ascribe to people their apparent ‘worth’. Unsurprisingly these days, those who earn less often feel worth less, or worse, worthless! People talk especially of the wealthy in terms of “The are WORTH 2.5 billion” or whatever the figure is, basically meaning that’s how much money they have. I heard some say that of prosperity preachers recently. I might well have responded (if I’d had my wits about me at the time): “they are worth the same as any Christian – and any non-Christian for that matter – nothing less than the life of Jesus Christ, Son of God.”
That is the ultimate truth of it. We as Christians ought to be those who know and believe and act like everyone is worth the SAME, and that SAME price is the highest price thinkable in the universe: the Son of God. Without doubt, the man who has swept my street for the last 35 years is equal in value to Bob Diamond (the investment banker hitting the news recently for having been appointed CEO of Barclay’s bank). And that value is higher than anything Bob Diamond, or any other banker or entrepreneur, or any of them put together, have ever earned! Indescribable worth!
There is nothing higher that God could have paid. That’s why Paul says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). This is something you need to spend some time just chewing over! It’s amazing and I believe would really liberate so many more Christians if they thought for a while about how much God loves them and paid for them to be made right with Him!
And so in light of this, it really strikes me that we as Christians need to move away from valueing people just according to how well we think they’ve done in a natural sense – not to dismiss or ignore talents and hard work – but to use a bit more of God’s economy, blessing people with more honour than they might usually expect to receive for something, and thereby hopefully showing them the love of God, and bringing out of them some more of the God-given potential that He wrote into their DNA.
Then, maybe, we’ll find a bit of God’s economy flowing back to us. “According to your standard of measure, it will be measured to you,” someone rather important and wonderful once said. “Give and it will be given to you, pressed down, shaken together and running over.”
A final reminder: whoever you are, you’re worth more than you could possibly imagine in God’s eyes. If you’re reading this thinking that this probably applies to just about everyone else EXCEPT you, think again: God loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), so much that He gave His only Son. You are worth everything to Him, and it’s His nature as Father to want to show you that love – just open yourself up to Him!
And show that love, that worth, that value to others. No matter who they are – the nameless, faceless poor of the city, or the richest business men and women in your area. Your best friend, or the awkward person at church with learning difficulties and lack of social skills. Your lovely neighbour on one side, or the broken or unfriendly neighbour on the other! “walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us…” (Ephesians 5:2)