What we consider valuable has changed dramatically over the years. Horses and log cabins have been replaced by electronics and stock. The most valuable home at present is Buckingham Palace. King Charles will move into a home that has been in his family since 1873. With 775 rooms, 78 bathrooms, 92 offices, 19 staterooms and a 40-acre garden, the palace “lists” at 2.9 billion dollars, although it’s never going to be on the market! If you place worth in the business world, you’d want to be the owner of Apple. It's worth is listed at 2.8 trillion dollars, but if you’d rather invest, then you’d want to own stock in the holding company which owns it- Berkshire Hathaway. You’d better save up though. One share costs $429,200.00! Collectibles still hold their fair share of value too. Currently the most valuable Baseball card is the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card which recently sold for 12.6 million dollars. But if you’re not a big spender and you still have an iPod Classic or original Sony Walkman lying around, these two technological wonders are selling on eBay for about the same price you paid for them the first time. I often wonder how the monetary value of the items on this list are established. I can’t even wrap my brain around most of those numbers, yet stocks and collectibles and more are bought and sold every day just because someone deemed them to have value.
The psalmist warns us in Psalm 49:16-20 to remember that wealth accumulated on this earth cannot be taken with us when we die. Our sense of value and accomplishment must be taken from a different set of criteria than that of the world. Oddly enough, the story of Cinderella illustrates what the Bible teaches. Cinderella's father had married a proud and haughty woman, who relegated Cinderella to servitude after he died. The "wicked" stepmother repeatedly told Cinderella that she was "common" and of little value but when the prince enters the story all that changes. The extent of the prince's love for Cinderella compels him to search the kingdom high and low until he finds her. His persistent love demonstrates her value and he goes to great lengths to be reunited with her. Jesus told a parable about the same kind of love in Mt. 18:12-14 (Lk. 15:3-7). A shepherd with a large flock has lost one of his sheep. Rather than leave it in the wilderness to succumb to the elements, the shepherd searches out the lost sheep and brings the little wanderer back to the fold. This is a picture of God's love. He has gone to great lengths in expressing His love for us and demonstrating our value to Him (see Phil. 2:5-8).
The greatest pitfall to emphasizing the monetary value of things is that it truly distracts us from what really matters in life. Jesus challenged His followers to consider two examples from the world around us- the flowers of the field and the birds in the air (Mt. 6:25-29). While each needs the basic necessities of food and shelter, neither stresses over those needs the way we do. Jesus reminds us that God sees to the needs of His creation, which demonstrates how much He values us. Therefore it is more important for us to strive for those things God values (Mt. 6:30-33). In light of His love for us and the extent to which He expressed it, our perspective on earthly value should be drastically changed. The author of Ecclesiastes understood that labor and the things we gain from it are only valuable if we keep our focus on the Lord (Ecc. 3:9-13) and Jesus also stressed that if we lose sight of our spiritual goals because of our need for profit and value, we lose something far greater (Mk. 8:36).
In times of economic uncertainty it becomes easy to fall prey to calculating our value in terms of our earthly possessions and accomplishments as my friend on Facebook did. Maybe you have been having similar feelings. When those doubts come up, remember, God so loved you, that He sent His Son to save you (Jn. 3:16-17). The world and its value system may lead you to believe that you are common. That is not true! The Prince has traveled throughout the kingdom to find you. The Shepherd has searched the wilderness to bring you home. There is no greater value than that.
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
https://www.annhlefevre.com; Olivetreeann@mail.com; https://www.linkedin.com/in/annhlefevre; https://www.facebook.com/ann.h.lefevre