Worthless… or Priceless?

by Lester Young

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.” And I suppose it’s reasonable to assume that vice-versa is also just as valid. Now, if you stop and mull over this adage for any length of time, the process of logic will kick in and invariably lead you to just one question: How, then, can the actual value of something – anything – be determined?

Some of you economics majors might be thinking, “That’s easy: supply and demand.” But it’s not really that cut-and-dried all the time, is it? For instance, the fact that there may be only two or three of a particular object in existence on this planet becomes immediately irrelevant if absolutely no one cares a thing in the world about them. In such an example ‘demand’ makes all the difference.

“Okay, then, what about intrinsic value?” Well, yes, the mere existence of an object possessing particular characteristics can in itself suggest a certain amount of value. But how can that value be objectively quantified? Again, when all’s said and done, it would seem to boil down to just how much someone wants it.

If you look closely, the idea of subjective value can be seen as a basic concept in God’s Word to the human race. As a matter of fact, I’m fully convinced that it’s fundamental to our salvation in Jesus Christ. I mean, we can probably all agree that God esteems Jesus pretty highly, right? (Even if we can’t all agree on it, the Father Himself called Jesus “God”; so that effectively squelches any argument on the subject anyway [Psalm 45:6; Hebrews 1:8].) After all, He’s before everything, above everything, the Maker of everything and everything’s under His feet (John 1:3, 17:5; Ephesians 1:20-22; Colossians 1:16-17). The Father thought so much of Jesus that He gave Him equal billing with Himself, so it’s quite plain to see He honored and valued His Son above all else (John 10:30; Philippians 2:9-11; 2 Peter 1:17). Yet isn’t it strange that while Jesus was here virtually no one else did – they recognized no redeeming qualities in Him (Isaiah 53:2, 3; John 1:10, 11). One Person’s Treasure…

And what about the rest of us? I’m talking – both individually and corporately – about every other man, woman and child who has ever or will ever live. The Scriptures clearly describe our fallen state: useless, empty, vanity, worthless – all of us taken together amounting to no more than a passing breath in eternity (Psalm 39:5, 11; 62:9; 144:4). Now if God were content with that valuation, all He would’ve had to do was nothing, because it’s what we already were. He could’ve just scrapped the whole Program and started over.

But God was not content with that assessment concerning us, which meant He valued us more than what the pawn shop scale was showing Him. And that logically brings us, by the way, to this next question: “How much did God value us?” Just how much did He want us? There have certainly been plenty of us down through the years, so the matter of ‘supply’ can’t really be much of an issue – which should’ve in turn driven down demand, and therefore cost.

But we don’t see that, do we? If fact, just the opposite took place. We find that ‘demand’ – God’s want, His desire for us – took over and became the sole factor in determining our worth. We see that God loved us soooo much He gave the absolute Best He had… for tons of the most worthless stuff around (John 3:16). He gave the most valuable, rare and priceless Possession in existence – His only Son – for what would amount on its own to be nothing more than a big bag of hot air. Why would both God and Jesus agree to a deal like that? Because They not only have love, They are Love (1 John 4:8, 16). Because They not only have compassion, They are Compassion (Mathew 14:14; Mark 6:34). They did it because we needed Them to.

As it turns out, that’s actually the only way you can truly determine the value of anything: by how much someone – anyone – is willing to pay for it. How valuable are you and I to God? As valuable – as priceless – to Him as the Lord Jesus is, because that’s the Price He ultimately paid for us (Ephesians 1:18). How could God not love us just as much as He loves Jesus? He proved that He does because Jesus is what He gave to get us (John 17:23, 26). Think about that the next time you’re tempted to look down on someone – anyone – else, including yourself. Remember, one person’s trash…


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