One thing I’ve learned during this past year is that something that’s valuable to me may not be valuable to someone else.
It’s important to buy the things we like because we enjoy them. Not because we think we’ll resell them one day and make lots of money. Even if something’s considered an antique, there has to be someone who’s willing to pay the price.
Weeding through my possessions, I’ve also discovered that what’s most valuable to me are the things that involve the people I love. Pictures of family. My brothers and me in an old black-and-white photo standing stair-step straight outside our house. Dad and me smiling together. Mom and me on my confirmation day.
A special gift from a close friend. A sweet letter from someone who’s gone but never forgotten. A child’s hand-drawn picture of Jesus. All things that carry no price tag but are simply priceless snippets from my life.
They make me think. Where do we find our worth? What makes us valuable? We can find our worth in our job. I’ve known many people in my life who’ve had extremely important jobs. Very smart and talented people who work hard. But the ones who’ve had the most peace are the ones who bring their worth to their jobs, not the other way around.
Years ago, a woman I worked with was sad. I asked her what was wrong. She said that people didn’t respect her because she held such a lowly position. I told her that her job didn’t define her. That she brings dignity to her job, not the other way around. I believe that the Holy Spirit encouraged me to tell her that. It changed the way she saw herself.
Money doesn’t define our worth, although some people believe that. In Luke 12:13-21 a man covets his older brother’s larger inheritance. Jesus says, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not exist in the abundance of things he possesses.” (verse 15)
Then Jesus tells the Parable of the Rich Fool. A man has an abundant harvest, but didn’t have room to store his crops. So he decides to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. He plans to take it easy after the construction’s done. The man says to himself, “’Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years, take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’” (verse19)
“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you: then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21)
Strength and beauty don’t define our worth. Handsome Sampson in all his mighty strength was as weak as a baby without God. Jesus talks about the futility of worry. “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Luke 12:27)
There are times when I feel like I’m an antique that’s lost its value because I don’t quite fit in this world any more. As the culture changes and shifts, I feel like I’m standing still. And yet, I’m growing because I read the Bible and learn new insights. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12)
I pray and seek God’s will in my life. I have the privilege of meeting weekly with a prayer group. We pray for one another. For our country. For our families. For our churches. For our pastors. For the lost, the lonely, the sick, the forgotten.
If the Lord of all creation thinks we’re worthwhile, who are we to argue? Each one of us has unbelievable worth. After all, God the Father was willing to pay the price for our redemption by sending his only son to earth just for us (John 3:16). Jesus Christ went all the way to the cross, suffered, died and after three days rose from the dead for each one of us.
Don’t worry about trying to impress others or making lots of money or what to wear or what to eat. Jesus tells us not to worry or to seek after the things we need. God the Father knows what we need. “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.” (Luke 12:31)
Jesus also tells us that the treasures we build up on earth are temporary. What’s really valuable are the treasures that we are building up for heaven. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34)
Be rich toward God. My most valuable treasure is my relationship with the Lord. I pray that yours is, too.
Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at email@example.com.