I have these nice dress shoes I wear when I preach. I think they are from Kohl’s. They are anointed-with my sweat and fire! I signed the bottom of them with my pastor signature, which is illegible according to my daughter. How much do you think I could sell them for?
I also have a pair of Lebron James’ shoes worn during the final game of the 2016 NBA championship, anointed with his sweat, signed with his hand (ok, I am pretending). How much do you think I could sell them for?
The first rule of value: an object’s worth is derived from its owner.
The creator’s value is tied to the object’s value. The object, by osmosis, inherits the value of its owner. A broken guitar, a sketch, a game ball, a baseball card. None of these objects have much value unless their owner endows them with it. A Jimi Hendrex burnt guitar sold for over 380K. A Da Vinci sketch is priced at 16 million. Mark McGwire’s 70th-homerun-ball is worth 3 million. A 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card is worth over $500,000. Each is a piece of the owner; something that ties us to them and their greatness.
In Psalm 8 King David declares a foundational truth: “What is man that You are mindful of him….You have crowned him with glory and honor.” Every person is created by God; every person is important to Him. Why!? Because they bear His image, carry His glory, and where His crown. Glory and honor! Human flesh wrapped in the beauty of God, showered with esteem from heaven, lifted up from dust to be given meaning and purpose. Because of the Creator, the created has value. If He is of infinite worth, inestimable value, then those whom He made in His image are endowed with, infused with, that value. His is an inherent value; ours is derived.
Because of the Creator, the created has value.
This truth is the foundation of all biblical ethics and commands. From the first chapter of the bible, the foundation is laid in love. The value of every person is the basis for love and love is the basis for all true human relations and societal laws. Remove a human beings dignity and you open the door to atrocities, oppressions, injustices, and violence.
Our society, as a whole, has removed this foundation. There is no solid ground to build upon. But, as our Master Jesus, told us, “Not so among you!” We know this truth; we delight in this truth. Now we must be governed by this truth. We are glad to be valued by God; now He is calling us to see the same in every person we meet. Our eyes must see the glorious treasure inside each soul; our hearts must be drawn to their value; our words must voice their honor; our hands must protect their dignity; our lives must bring forth their purpose.
People sometimes ask me how to cultivate unity, or a diverse community, or an atmosphere of acceptance. It is this simple: I endeavor to value and add value to EVERY person I meet.
So if you have never heard, or you wonder, or its been awhile: you are VALUABLE! You matter to God and to me. You are created in the image of God. You are beautiful; fearfully and wonderfully made. Your days are written in God’s book. He thinks about you so much that his good intentions towards you are more than the sand of the seashore. You are glorious. You are not a product of random chance or natural selection or mutations. You are the artwork of God. The desire of His heart. The apple of His eye. You are worth more than Lebron James’ shoes or Mickey Mantle’s baseball card. You are worth the glory of your Creator.
Now go see it in others and speak it into their soul. Now create environments charged with honor, where every person is valued and welcomed.