(Prepared for a sermon based on Matthew 6:19-24)
How much is something worth? We usually determine the value of something by how much we are willing to pay for it. How much of ourselves we’re willing to invest in something is a pretty good indication of how important it is to us. It’s pretty easy to determine someone’s priorities by looking at how he spends his time, his money and what enthuses him. For example, if a man says that his family is important to him, but when he has the opportunity he doesn’t spend any time with his wife and kids, he doesn’t show any interest in their hopes and desires, he overlooks their needs to help out friends and acquaintances, then it’s legitimate to question his statement.
On the other hand, if someone denies himself of things that he would like to have or do; for years he scrapes and saves in order to achieve a goal, the thing he is trying to achieve is very important to him.
The same principle holds true in spiritual things. We can tell how important God is to us by how much time we spend with Him. How much time do we spend meditating on the Scriptures and seeking God’s will? The Psalmist wrote, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1-2 NIV) Do we long for God like that? Is He that important to us?
Similarly, we can tell how important God’s Kingdom is to us by how much we’re willing to invest of ourselves in it. How much inconvenience are we willing to accept to help others draw closer to Christ? In one of His parables Jesus said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46 NIV) Does the Kingdom of Heaven mean enough to us that we are we willing to give up everything else to attain it?
Now let’s take a few moments to take a look at this concept of worth from the other direction. We’ve considered how much things are worth to us, but how much are we worth? What price do we command? When we look at it that way, the Scriptures tell us that to God, we are of infinite worth. The world tries to tear us down. Every day we hear messages that tell us we’re no good. If we don’t have as much money or as many toys as someone else that we don’t measure up. The whole basis of racism is the idea that other people aren’t as worth as much as us. All too often people use the pretense of caring to exploit others and to further their own agendas.
In contrast to the world, how does God show that we are important to Him? In Psalm 103, David writes, “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:2-5 NIV) From that Psalm it sounds to me like we are worth a lot to God. Otherwise He wouldn’t lavish His care on us the way He does.
But the ultimate expression of our worth to God is what He was willing to give up for us. The Apostle Paul writes this in Romans chapter 5, starting in verse 5, “…God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:5-11 NIV)
If the death of Jesus doesn’t demonstrate just how much we are worth to God, I don’t know what would. But, in the hassle and worries of everyday life, and the negative messages the world throws at us, we tend to forget just how much God values us. That’s why we take a little time each Sunday to remember Christ’s sacrifice. The bread we eat and the juice we drink remind us that in God’s estimation, we are of infinite worth. Since He thinks so much of us, shouldn’t we also be willing to give of ourselves to Him?