June 16, 2021

The Value of Things

Toy CarWhat is the true value of things?

On one level, a value is placed on everything: that being a price. Each item that we have around is worth something to someone, and different things to different people. Value is assigned based on usefulness, aesthetics, rarity, and a whole host of things.

Nothing makes this plainer than a garage sale. At these sales are many types of things. There are the clothes that have been received as a gift that either did not fit, were not the right color/style, and those things that we just didn’t like. There are toys that either no longer work, or that the children have outgrown. “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.”

And yet, is this the true value of things? As Christians, we all well know that we are just pilgrims in this world. God gives us all things to enjoy and we in this country enjoy many things indeed. Yet when things come in the way of God, they are actually something to our detriment, instead of a positive. In this case, we must divorce ourselves from things– make sure that nothing but Christ is our goal and our desire: our only Treasure. If we do not do this, than our desire lasts in a thing that will fail us.

So, we’re stuck at the same question– if we are not to put things above God, what is their true value? I would break it down this way:

Utility. We have certain needs that should be provided for. God provides all our needs according to the Scripture. So, things like food, water, air, protection, family– these are all things with tremendous value because of their utility.

Ministry. We have been given means and ability so that we might share with others. Knowing that this world is not all that there is, and that we need to be making a difference in people’s lives so that they might see Christ in us gives things that we can share tremendous value.

Memory. The things that we have help us to remember where we come from and where we are going. That is probably the one that I’m struggling the most with in the aftermath of our garage sale last weekend. You see, as you see things sold that you haven’t seen for ages because they have been stored but then they go away with individuals as they buy them, you feel the emotional attachment of the memories that go with different items.

For some reason, one particular item (a plastic wall hanging with two squirrels on it– one on top of the roof of a house and the other in it) brought back memories of childhood since it hung on my wall. For some reason I have a strange emotional attachment to the thing, and it was purchased today to a new home. I can’t explain why, except for the memories.

This must be the same reason that we all believe that pictures would be the first things we would save from a burning house (ok, get the kids out first, I suppose!)– not because we think we look great or because they would get a good price, but because of the memories attached to the pictures that we will never be able to go back and get again.

In that way, we use all sorts of things as memory aids, and it’s harder for some of us to part with them than it is with others!

To me, these three give things value: Utility, Ministry, and Memory. How about you?

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3 thoughts on “The Value of Things

  1. I think it%u2019s difficult to look at the value of things without looking at what is given up in order to obtain and maintain those things. Everything has a price the question is what is paid. The value we ascertain to an item is directly associated with what we’re willing to pay. This could be all sorts of things time, money, dignity, etc. At the point that any “thing” holds more value to us then being obedient to God we have created our own idol. It is not a question of how many dollars the item is worth, but how much of a hold it has on our heart.

    With this in mind, lets go back to the categories you stated for giving value; Utility, Ministry, and Memory. Let%u2019s start with the first one “Utility”, and use food as an example. Let%u2019s say you were in a famine, unemployed, had a family of four and only had 3 loaves of bread to feed your entire family for the next week. According to your criteria this food would have an extremely high value of Utility. It both provides nourishment and helps preserve your family. Would you be able to hear God if he asked you to give it away? Would you obey?

    I would argue that the only method for assessing value we are to use as Christians is obedience. While this certainly means we are to be good stewards of what we are entrusted, the value is in our obedience not in the objects. If we have a church of 30,000, feed a million of homeless people a day as a ministry, and have photos of every important thing we’ve ever done but we are not obedient to Christ our values are misplaced.

    Likewise, if we make more money than Bill Gates, own houses in 10 states, drive a Ferrari, but are willing to give any or all of it away at the smallest inkling from Christ, our values are were they should be.

    The reality is that it would be difficult to have a church of 30,000, feed a million people a day as a ministry and not also being obedient to Christ. It also would be difficult to have extreme wealth tied up in tons of assets and be obedient every time God asked us to do something. The wealth or lack there of is not the question though, it is of obedience. Think of David and what he gave to the temple. David is viewed as a man after God’s own heart but he had tremendous wealth. He also put little value in any of it.

    I guess what I%u2019m really trying to say is that value is not really ours to determine. True value is only decided by God.

  2. My hat is off to both of you deep thinkers! I like how you narrowed it down, MIn, to the three categories. I’d say you covered the necessities. DLogan, you make the great point that we in America truly don’t have to do without…not like they do in third world countries. What we take for granted…we could really do with a lot less.

    If my house were burning, and my loved ones were safe, I’d want my video tapes of my wedding and our three girls lives recorded from infancy. I’d want my Bible because it’s so marked up with all the things that have ever meant anything to me, sermon notes, verses from God at critical moments…

    I wish my children were less “attached” to mere things. They each have several stuffed animals/baby dolls that they think they can’t live without. Not sure what to do to make them less materialistic.

  3. DLOGAN, OH! I see what you were saying! SHEESH I ought to read your posts before conversations! LOL…

    Mary, I have an interesting story about a marked up Bible. Turns out mine was an idol too in a way. I had one that I had marked in for 15 years (give or take). I had underlined so many thingd and highlights and everything. I totally loved that Bible, then my mother in law got saved, and the Spirit told me to give it to her! Just up and give it away… boy that was strange. But I did, and now I have a decent “relationship” with my new KJV… Its a great Bible… My hubby got it for me! *grin*

    regarding being less attached for your kids… take those things which they are overly attached to away. the earlier the better. We just took our three year old’s blankie away, after he demonstrated just how important it was to his heart…so important that if he cant find it in the middle of the night he wakes us up! We also help our son to give things away… and teach him that everythign we have belongs to God. Mainly by telling him “thats Gods, and He can do with it as He pleases. He intends for you to care for it and to share it and to give it up if He asks.”

    Mrs Meg Logan

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