Today: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

How do you measure what you're worth?    (5/5/2013 1)

I’ve just got back from collecting a small table I bought very cheaply in an auction. It’s second-hand, and will fit neatly into a gap in my sitting-room. On the drive back, I got to thinking about how much the table cost me, and what it’s worth, and what its value is to me... 

How was the price set? Pricing can be a complex business. Usually, items are sold according to what ‘the market will bear’ and according to demand, and these are both strong factors in an auction: how many people are bidding, and what are they willing to pay? Sometimes, sellers set reserve prices (so they’ll get a guaranteed minimum), or they may accept whatever is the highest bid, even if it’s a low one. In my case, the auction house published a likely price range in advance for my table (and I got it for 25% less than the lesser amount!). And since I couldn’t be there on the day of the auction, I authorised the auction house to bid on my behalf, giving them a maximum amount I was willing for them to bid up to. See how complex it is?

What was it worth when perfect? This little table is made from a very nice wood, and was probably quite expensive when new. It’s second-hand, so that brings the price down a bit — and although in very good condition it’s obviously not perfect, bringing the price down further (although if it was even older, it’d be an antique and would be worth more than it cost new!). However, its being second-hand doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth less to me: I like the idea that this piece of furniture lives on; that it had a history before it came to me; that it has been loved and cared for and used by at least one home before me. 

What is its value to me? We’ve established that my table is small, previously owned, imperfect, and didn’t sell for as much as the auction house had hoped — because very few people (perhaps only me!) actually wanted it. Taken together, this doesn’t make the table sound very desirable, does it? And yet… I’d been looking for a table this size, shape and colour for a while, so I’ve found what I’d been looking for at last — with the added benefit that I can now stop looking! It fits the gap in my room perfectly, and I’ve now got somewhere to put my cup of tea rather than putting it on the floor and kicking it over and staining the carpet. So the table’s worth a lot to me, even though it didn’t cost much. 

So price, worth and value are connected, but different. And I was reminded of our worth to God: he loves and values us all equally — loves and values us so much that he set no reserve price. He put no conditions on the extent of that love, but went to the cross and died for us. As unworthy as we are of this, he did it because we are worth so much to him. God isn’t impressed with expensive things or attempts to appear perfect: he loves us all the same — rich and poor, able-bodied and disabled, whatever our age, condition or colour.

Pray: God, it's hard for me to understand that you loved me so much that you died so that I could be with you forever. Help me to understand this love, and my worth to you. Help me to give you your 'worthship' - help me to worship you. Amen. 

Think about: Here are a new words from the Bible: "“you were bought at a price… you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians chapter 6, verse 20 & 2 Thessalonians chapter 1, verse 5).

Challenge: God loves everyone to an extent we can never understand. Does this affect how you feel about people you don't like, or who have been cruel to you? If God can find value and worth in these people, and love them deeply, even though he is perfect, should we not try to value and love these people also?

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