Not too long ago my daughter asked my wife what “priceless” means. Later that same day she came back with another question, “How much would you sell me for?” My wife’s incredibly compassionate response was, “If I could get five bucks for you I’d be happy.” Then in true motherly fashion she hugged her and told her she would never sell her, she was priceless. While the value of individuals cannot be calculated in terms of money, there are some people in our lives that we value more highly than others. Those we are closest with have more worth to us than someone we know nothing about. Where does God fit into the spectrum of those we value? To ask the question another way, what is God worth to you?
How would you explain the value of God? The value of God could be pointed at in terms of necessity, He is essential to the continued existence of all creation. If God ceased to exist, all other things would cease to exist, therefore God is more valuable than all the things He created. Maybe we could consider the value of God in terms of rarity. He is completely unique, there is no other being in all the universe that even comes close to being like the Holy God. Maybe His value could be considered in terms of utility. God is the creator, sustainer and mover of all things. Without God we have no ability and unless God intervenes in our lives we have no hope. We could also consider things like ability- there is no being more powerful than God; majesty- God surpasses all things in power, position and rule; purity- a single crime against Him demands an infinite punishment; or prosperity- God possesses all resources. All of these things are true, yet they seem to be slightly impersonal and missing the real point of the matter.
In the book of 2 Corinthians Paul spends much time defending his ministry as an apostle. In making that defense, he tells the Corinthians of the many things he endured in the accomplishment of that ministry. Between two segments of his defense, Paul expresses his overwhelming desire to enter into the glories of heaven. In 2 Corinthians 5, while considering the hope to come, Paul states his great goal to please God, whether on this earth or in heaven. Paul opens that statement with, “Wherefore we labor.” In that single word labor Paul expresses the great value of God. Labor in that verse is referring to a work done recognizing the great worth of the one it is being done for- a labor of love. Probably the most practical measure of how much something is worth is to consider the amount of energy and time expended for that thing. Using that measurement, God was obviously worth far more to Paul than could ever be expressed in a few words. To Paul God was worth a life poured out in His service. To Paul beatings, stonings, sufferings, abuses, mockeries, imprisonments, harassments, privations, abandonments and all kinds of hardships were the least he could do for God. Not only was Paul willing to endure these things, he rejoiced and gloried in them because they revealed the infinite glory of God. He says in 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” and in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” To Paul, God was so valuable that everything in this life could be given up and all manner of sufferings be endured for His glory. While speaking of all his credentials as a devoted Jew Paul says very forcefully, ” Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” (Philippians 3:8-10) . Clearly, Paul counted God’s worth as far surpassing all other things.
We show the value of God in the way we live our lives. A mere profession of God’s worth doesn’t really mean much. I can speak of how much I love God, but if I never keep His commandments those words are nothing but empty breath. I can speak of how much I want to serve God, but if I never step out and do something for Him I am speaking vanity. In much the same way as we show our faith by our works, we show God’s worth to us by what we are willing to give for Him. For many God is not worth inconvenience, extra time, lost sleep, discomfort, careful thought or strenuous effort. He is worth no more to us than a fast food supper that we swing in, pick up in a rush and run on with minimal impact on our plans for the day. We dishonor the infinite value of God by treating Him in such a cavalier fashion. Let us invest ourselves in living a life that clearly reveals the incalculable value of God.
Nikon D80 55mm f/5.6 1/100 ISO 100