While killing time I will often scroll Facebook and watch different videos that appear on my feed. This last week I came across a video that had a profound and timely message (you might have seen it, given it has 22 million views).
A professor walked up to the front of his classroom. As he turned and faced his students, from his pocket he pulled a fresh, crisp $20 bill. He proceeded to hold it up in the air for all to see and asked, “Who would like to have this $20 bill?” As you may have guessed everyone raised their hand. He then took the $20 and crumpled it up into a little ball. This perfectly crisp and clean $20 in a matter of seconds appeared to have years of wear and tear on it. He held up the ball and asked, “Now who wants it?” Naturally everyone still raised their hand. Finally, he threw the crumpled-up bill on the ground and stomped all over it with his dingy loafers. Bending over to pick it up, he presented the dirt stained crumpled ball to the class and asked, “Do you still want it?” Every hand shot back up into the air. The professor proceeded to explain that they had all participated in a very valuable lesson. This $20 bill is like our life, we often will get thrown down, crumpled up, rolled in the dirt – and yet that should not change our value.
The message is true – our value cannot be diminished because of how we look, what we have faced, or by any other measure. However, if this is true, that must mean the opposite is true. Our value cannot be measured by any of these things positively either. We live in a world that sadly misses the point of this illustration, and believes that the worth of people is found in surface and material things. Riches, attraction, popularity, and a plethora of other truly meaningless things are the foundation upon which millions base their self-worth and value. Just consider the following for a few examples:
Proverbs 31:30 (ESV) Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
The culture that we live in is completely fixated on the way that we look. Billions of dollars are grossed each year in the beauty industry as consumers desperately grasp at youth. Clothes have become considerably less modest, as the motto, “If you got it, flaunt it” is shoved down our throats by the media. The greatest and most successful apps consist of posting pictures of yourself in the hopes that others will like and share pictures of you. The narcissism is real. If you are not considered attractive by societies standards, then you are shamed and considered considerably less valuable then someone who meets those standards. Of course most would not come out and say it that way, but that is exactly how the cards fall. The truth is found in the words we see above – charm is deceitful and beauty is vain. These things often have no depth and will fade as quickly as they arose. Time has its way with all of us, and ultimately these things are meaningless and worthless. True value is not found in charm or beauty, but as we read and as we will see – it is found in our Lord!
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:19-21
The American dream – a big home, fancy car, money in the bank, everything your heart desires. People spend their lives doing anything and everything they can to get rich. Some are lazy about it, not desiring to work for it but would rather have it handed out to them. This is evident with get rich quick schemes, lottery tickets, sports bets, and many other avenues that almost always lead to going broke quick. Others do indeed work hard for it, and build quite a fortune for themselves. Do not mistake what I am saying, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labor. But there is a grave mistake in placing our value or trust in them. Like anything else in life, what can take years to build only takes minutes to destroy. The market crashes. A natural disaster takes all you own. That which was new and efficient soon becomes outdated and antique. And no matter how much you accumulate, you are never satisfied with what you have (Ecclesiastes 5:10-12). Your value can never be measured by the things on this earth that you possess, but rather your value is found in the things that are above and that come from above. Rather than the temporal, our value comes from that which is eternal. So where is your heart?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:37–39
God has redeemed us. He has purchased us with the blood of his son to create us into a people of his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14). The Son of God died for us, and in dying for us he has given us grace, forgiveness, and mercy. Why did God do all of these things? The text tells us above – it is because He loves us. Nothing can separate us from God’s immense love for our souls. Yet God did not love us because of our great stature, or beauty, or wealth, or wisdom. All of these things are meaningless before the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23-24). Like Israel, God does not pour out His love on us for any of these meaningless things in which man places worth or value (Deuteronomy 7:6-10). God poured out his love on us because He created us in His Image (Genesis 1:26-28). As our Creator and our eternal Father, He pours his love out upon us as His children simply because He chose to!
If you are a parent, ask yourself this question, “why do you love your children?” It is not because they have gifts or talents. It is not because they are attractive (if that were the case I would have been a very unloved kid). It is not because they might one day become successful. You love them because they are your children and you chose to love them every day! Nothing can ever keep you from loving your children. They have immense value regardless of any of these things . . . can you not see the same is true of our relationship with God? Your value is found in your Creator, who designed you and has loved you from long before you were ever born. Maybe life has crumpled you up, and thrown you in the dirt. Perhaps you have made great mistakes in your life that have hurt you and those around you. Maybe you feel worthless because you have placed your value in all the wrong things.
The truth of the matter is God still loves you, and you are of IMMENSE value to Him as His creation. He wants you to have a personal relationship and make a covenant with Him. He wants you so much, He invested everything He had in the hopes that you would love Him too – He invested His Son (Romans 8:32). You are that $20 bill, and God through His Son wants to pick you up out of the dirt, embrace you and whisper gently, “I want you too. I love you my child. You are worth it all.”