Susan C. Anthony

Dennis' potteryHow to Determine Your Value

Have you ever thought about what makes something valuable? I made this pottery thing several years ago. If I wanted to sell it, how would I decide on a price? What determines its value?

Some of you might remember Annabelle the Elephant, the first resident of the Alaska Zoo. One day Annabelle seemed bored. “Why don’t you teach her to paint?” someone suggested. It was the perfect solution. They put a brush in her trunk and she began to paint. The least expensive of her originals sells for $200 and they have been sold to people as far away as Germany. There was always a standing order for her work. One of her pieces recently sold for $1,200.

Now if I painted something like this, I don’t think anyone would pay me hundreds of dollars for it. Nor do I think I could get $200 for my little pottery thing, and you can even use that!

You’ve probably heard it said that things are worth exactly what someone else will pay for them. That’s exactly what determines something's value.

Annabelle's $350 art
Annabelle's $400 art
Annabelle's $900 art

$350.00

$400.00

$900.00

 

So how much are you worth? The basic elements and minerals in your body, broken down to their elements, are worth only about $4.50. The assembled parts are worth a lot more. Your blood, bone marrow, vital organs, and other transplantable parts are worth more than $45 million. (That’s why laws forbid selling body parts!)

Lots of people struggle with feelings of worthlessness. In America, people pay psychologists millions of dollars a year to help them feel more worthwhile and valuable.

But how is your value determined? It is determined by what someone will give for you. That’s how.

Not all of us are lucky enough to be highly valued by other people. But we know from the Bible that ALL of us are valued by God, the creator of the entire vast and beautiful universe. We are worth no less than what He was willing to pay for us. Just like Annabelle’s art.

So what was He willing to pay? Jesus valued you so much that He gave His perfectly innocent life to pay your debts and make it possible for you to have eternal life. It wasn't because He needs you, any more than you might need one of Annabelle’s paintings. He wants you. He paid that price because He loves you, You are of enormous value and worth to Him because of that love and nothing else.

But what about the reverse? How much do you value Him? How much would you be willing to pay or give up for Him?

Most of us never have to actually decide. But Christians throughout history and around the world do have to decide, and you never know what might happen in your future. John MacArthur tells about a Bible a friend of his owns, one of the first printed copies of God’s Word. The top third of the Bible is covered with the blood of its original owner.

How did that blood get there? In 1553, not too long after the Church of England was established by Henry VIII, Bloody Mary became England’s queen. She reestablished Catholicism as the official religion, by force. Protestants who refused to cooperate were murdered. Soldiers would spill a person’s blood, then take his Bible and dip it deep into the blood. These are now known as Martyrs’ Bibles.

The word martyr comes from Greek and means simply “witness.” That’s a scary thought. The Bible calls every Christian to be a witness and to testify to others. We are to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about what we know, just as a witness is supposed to do in court. People won’t always like what we have to say. We may be tempted to remain silent or to perjure ourselves a little bit to soften the message.

It has been said that the Christian church was built on the blood of martyrs. In 64 A.D., only 30 years or so after Jesus’ crucifixion, there was a great fire in Rome. Nero blamed the Christians, an unpopular sect many thought had offended Rome’s gods by refusing to worship them. The historian Tacitus wrote:

First, then, those of the sect were arrested who confessed; next, on their disclosures, vast numbers were convicted, not so much on the count of arson, as for hatred of the human race. And ridicule accompanied their end: they were covered with wild beasts’ skins and torn to death by dogs; or they were fastened on crosses, and, when daylight failed, were burned to serve as torches by night. Nero had offered his gardens for the spectacle‚Ķ.

Wow! I have to ask myself. Would I have had the courage to be among that vast number who died rather than deny what they knew to be true? Or would I have been silent or perjured myself? The fact that the early Christians so passionately believed in Jesus that they would choose pain and death rather than deny Him was powerful testimony. Others were so moved they joined the faith.

When things are free or cheap, we often don’t value them. Air, for example. It’s free so we don’t think about it. We take it for granted. But if the air disappeared and we had to buy it, we would be willing to pay a lot.

How much is Jesus worth to us? How much is the Bible worth? How much is eternal life worth? If it ever came down to a choice we have to make, would Jesus be worth more to us than our comfort, our money or even our very lives? We should all try to answer that question in our hearts and be ready. There is no way to guarantee we won’t be called on to demonstrate our choice in the future.

Music: "Welcoming Hills" about Christian martyr's of the past.

Three centuries have passed since the story we tell
Yet the whispering wind testifies
Of unshakable souls who held nothing so dear
As their burning commitment to Christ.

Though blood ran more freely than streams to the sea
Yet they would not abandon the cross
Counting it glory to die for the Lord
And every gain as but loss.

Oh, the sun shines bright on these welcoming hills
As they ring with the echoes of faith
Remembering the brave who gave all for His will
Running into God’s arms and these welcoming hills.
Li-la-li-li, Li-la-li-li,
Li-li-li-li-li-li.

They were willing to pray, they were willing to preach
They were willing to struggle and fight
Their unfaltering witness was true to the end
Like the sun in the bright northern sky.

‘Neath meadows of heather where once they stood strong
Their broken and weary bones rest
While they sing and rejoice to eternity’s song
In the kingdom of sweet righteousness.

Ch. Oh the sun shines fair on these welcoming hills
As they ring with the echoes of faith
Remembering the brave who gave all for His will
Running into God’s arms and these welcoming hills.
Li-la-li-li, Li-la-li-li,
Li-li-li-li-li-li.

Note:  This talk was presented by my husband Dennis at our small church.

Go on to read Very Important People
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