There is an important difference between an object which is loved because it is worth something, and an object which is worth something because it is loved. Rev. Ian Pitt-Watson said he learned that distinction when he and his family moved from Scotland to California. The most traumatic part of the transition was the fact that his six-year-old daughter’s favorite rag doll was missing for more than two months. During this time, the little girl was heartbroken. She often had trouble sleeping because the doll she loved was not by her side. One day, however, her mother was unpacking a box and found the rag doll. It had been mistakenly placed in the box with some winter clothing. The little girl was delighted to have her beloved doll back, and when she met her dad at the door that evening, she was hugging it tightly with both arms. At that point, Rev. Pitt-Watson realized that though this doll had very little inherent value, it was worth a great deal because it was loved a great deal.
I certainly can empathize with that little girl. When I was young, I had a favorite plastic teddy bear which I named “Horple.” After a year or so, Horple’s plastic began to crack in various places, and part of him even fell off. Yet, I treasured that little plastic bear. Though no one else saw any value in him (My mom tried to throw him in the garbage at least once), he was certainly worth something because he was worth something to me. There are other things in life, however, that capture our affection primarily because others see them as having value. A big reason why we treasure a $50,000 sports car or a beautiful fur coat is because it is something which seems to have inherent worth. Some things are loved because they are worth something, while other things are worth something because they are loved.
The Bible teaches that human beings fall into both of these categories. Because human beings have been created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), each and every one of us possesses an inherent value. It doesn’t matter how much money someone has, what color his skin is, or how intelligent she may be. Every human being bears the stamp of our Creator and is thus worthy of our respect and love. The people around us should receive love from us because they are worth something.
On the other hand, the Bible teaches that we as human beings have little inherent value in God’s eyes. Our sin and selfishness, which is really a desire for the Lord to leave us alone and let us do things our own way, means that we are in rebellion against God and deserving of His wrath. Yet in His grace, the Lord still chooses to love us. The proof of that love is that Jesus Christ died on the cross in our place. Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Friends, Jesus did not die for us because we were worth something. However, when by God’s grace, we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, we become worth something from God’s perspective. Those of us who are believers in Christ are God’s beloved sons and daughters. We are under His continual care until He brings us safely to our eternal home.
Yours, grateful that because of Jesus’ love, I am worth something.
Rev. Dan Erickson, Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church