Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday's with Jesus #156

#156 "What Are You Worth?"
July 15, 2008
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matthew 10: 29-31)
What are you worth? According to the EPA, your life isn't worth what it used to be. According to cbsnews.com and other reporting news agencies, "the value of a statistical life is $6.9 million, a drop of nearly $1 million from just five years ago". I guess it's just not enough for parents to tell their children they'll never amount to anything. I guess it's not enough for white folk to treat black folk like they're a sub-species. I guess it's just not enough for rich folk to think they're steps above poor folk. Now the federal government is setting a value on my life and great news! ... I'm worth less than I was five years ago! How's that for a self-esteem booster?
Jesus says that we're worth more than many sparrows. I don't know about you, but just like I don't like it when I'm compared to dumb sheep, I'm not finding much comfort in the fact that I'm worth more than a sparrow. I'd feel much better if I were valued higher than the king of the forest or a majestic mountain. What about a priceless diamond or one of the wonders of the world? Now that would be worth something!
But it is what it is. Jesus said sparrows. He said that His Father has His eye on them and not one falls to the ground without Him knowing. He cares for them. And I think I may have figured out why. First, sparrows loved to nest in all the nooks and crannies of the Jerusalem temple, building their nests and taking care of their young near His altar. (see Psalm 84:3) Your Father in Heaven absolutely loves it when you nest in His presence. He is delighted when you make your home with Him and when you raise your young in His courts. Second, sparrows were usually found among other sparrows. But when their mate died they would stand alone and lament their loss on the rooftop. (see Psalm 102:7 KJV) Your Father wants you to cry out to Him in your pain, in your lack and in your deepest loss. That trait endears the sparrow to His heart, and when you look to your Abba with tears in your eyes, crying only to Him for comfort, that trait endears you to Him.  
The EPA says that your worth is in excess of $6 million, depreciating by the second. And if you're over 70, the value was 38% less than that of people under 70 in the year 2002. That idea proved so politically explosive that the agency ended up reversing itself. (cbsnews.com) Aren't you glad that God doesn't put a numerical value on your worth to Him? Whether you're nine or ninety, black or white, fat or skinny, rich or poor...you matter to Him. You are loved by Him. You are the apple of His eye. You are what makes His heart beat. 
You may not feel worth a whole lot today because of how people have treated you. You might have been dealt some serious blows through the circumstances of your life. Society may be shaping how you figure your own worth and value. Maybe you don't feel that you measure up. Like Jeff.
Jeff's mom tells the story of how her son played in a special Little League for kids with disabilities. After many seasons of watching from the bleachers and rooting while his big brother played ball, Jeff's opportunity finally arrived. When he received his uniform, he couldn't wait to get home to put it on. When he raced out from his bedroom, fully suited up, he announced to her, "Mom, now I'm a real boy!" Mom says,"Though his words pushed my heart to my throat, I assured him he had always been a "real boy."" 
God's heart is pushed to His throat when you don't understand just how much you are worth to Him. He has "loved you with an everlasting love." (Jeremiah 31: 3) With Paul, I pray that you would be so "rooted and established in that love, and that you would have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3: 17b-19) Be filled to overflowing, dear one, with knowing how much God loves you...yes, you! People can't place a value on your life. Your station and status in this world does not determine your worth. You are not defined by your economic status, what side of the tracks you were born on or what has happened along your journey. Your usefulness can't be measured by the EPA or any other government body. You are who God says that you are...in His Word. You are who God believes you are.. in His heart.
Everlasting Love displayed your life's worth on an old rugged cross to suffer unspeakable pain, humiliation and death. There can be no price tag on that. The Sacrifice was priceless because there was no price too high for your Heavenly Father to pay, so that you would belong to Him.
Worth of a sparrow...a half a penny.
Worth of a statistical life...$6.9 million.
Your worth and value to God...Priceless.
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