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The Value of a Person

Until I saw it, I didn’t realize that much of Israel’s Mount of Olives is a cemetery. Here, those who remember the dead place a stone of remembrance on top of their loved one’s grave.

Today, in America, we use this Memorial Day to honor those who have lost their lives fighting for our country.

But those who remember the ultimate sacrifice of a loved family member or friend are only doing today what they do everyday– acknowledge with pain the inexpressible value of a person.

I’ve often tried to calculate in my own mind the value of just one person. I’ve imagined what I’d do if the devil appeared to me and tried to negotiate for the soul of someone I dearly love.

In my imagination, I’ve heard the evil one say, “I know you have two children. Name your price. I’ll give you more than you’ve ever dreamed of having for either of them…

What about all of the oil in the Mideast? All the real estate in the world? All the industry on the planet? I’ll throw in personal happiness, good health, and a long life for you if you’ll give me the soul of your son or daughter.”

Your answer would be the same as mine. Yet, I’m still surprised whenever I think about it. All of the money in all of the treasuries of the world could not tempt us to sell-for any price-someone we love.

But then I imagine a second question. I hear him say, “OK, then, let’s change the terms. I’ll make it easier for you. All I’ll ask is for your assent for me to take the soul of someone you don’t even know…

I’ll orchestrate circumstances to give you a million dollars for the pathetic child of someone you’ve never even met. And if you want more, I’ll give you all of the money, real estate, and industry of the world for the soul of someone else’s child?

What amazes me, is that in spite of all of the evil, self-centered rot that is in me, and even though I know that in countless ways, I have betrayed the trust and best interests of those who are dear to me– I can’t imagine myself knowingly accepting any price for anybody’s baby.

So, what happens? How do we– every day of our lives– fail to give some person– whose value could never be adequately estimated– the honor that we owe that person in life and death?

Maybe the best answer is that we are not God. I don’t know. I feel like I have just barely begun to think about this…

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15 Responses to “The Value of a Person”

  1. desert rose says:

    Yesterday, a friend of mine commented that a person who committed sucide could not be a Christian. When I read your blog “The Value of a Person” I asked myself how would your blog go along with this comment.

    As believers we do owe that person in life and death. We know the Lord and we know that He is the answer for all mankind.

    I the Value of a Person less because the suffer from depression and they find themselves wanting to go be with the Lord?

    I agree, maybe the best answer is that we are not God. I can see myself giving my life for someone who does not Christ. But are we giving honor to the devil when we do not witness or live a life that shows Christ in our life?

    The devil is subtle and appears sometimes like an angel of light. We know he walks about seeking whom he may devour.

    If we are honest – I believe we do fail to give some person the value that never could adequately be estimated, the honor that we owe that person.

    I value my freedom for I have been in a situation in my life where I did not have the freedom to do as I wish. I never take freedom for granted whether it be freedom to live or freedom in Christ.

    The person who asked about the value of life regarding a believer committing sucide. I believe that nothing separates us from the love of God and that a believer can commit sucide due to an illness of depression.

  2. infiniti07 says:

    Your topic, The Value of a Person, is a very interesting one and although I’ve never asked that of myself before, I know that my immediate answer is that it is priceless and can’t be traded. I believe that God has imprinted this into the genetic code of our being and when we accept God through faith, His Spirit guides us in all truth and convicts us of anything that goes against truth.
    What about the non believing person? If they value their own lives are they likely to value others less or in terms of a price? Mercenaries fight for a country and accept payment for this service. Do they mentally block out the issue of the value of a life and fight for a cause whether it be for self sustenance or for the cause of a country? There are more questions than answers unless we know of such individuals.
    We hear about those who would kidnap and remove organs to be sold for a price. What goes on in such a mind? The Bible speaks about the true battle being a spiritual one. Does everyone have the opportunity to choose for themselves how they value life or why does God allow severe tests to someone like Job but many choose to ignore Him?
    Personally, I am just thankful that the answer for myself is one of sanctity of life and that there is no price for mine or another’s. I enjoy the grace of God. My part is to share this message to any who would be open to hearing it.

  3. Gena says:

    We all wish to be valued by others and I am no different. Recent news reports are talking about a young couple jokingly put their 7 month old baby for sale on an internet commerical market. Some youngsters do not honor their parents, friends betray friends, co-workers willingly climb corporate ladders at the expense of others, and so forth. The Word says we were made in His image. This Memorial Day, I appreciate the men and women who willingly put their lives on the line for our country and can never say thank you enough. Thank you Jesus for all you have done for us!

  4. yvetterjh says:

    I wish I knew why we don’t value life like we should. It worries me that so little regard is given to any life. Our children have no value, our family, neighbors, and those we call our friends. Sure we say that they are of some importance to us, until something comes up in our lives that deem more importance.

    I guess that is why the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is held in such high esteem. He gave His life for us, while we were yet sinners. His life, He gave up His worldly possessions, His fellowship with His friends and family. He set aside everything that was important to everyone else around Him. Thank God He didn’t say, “Okay I’ll die after I watch the season finale of Lost, nor did He put us off until He found out the results of the upcoming election. When the time came, He said, it is time. Wow, what a magnificent Lord we serve!

    Because He is God, He can love, and give like no other. However that does not excuse us who are not God. Let us remember to seize the time and opportunity to love someone unlovable, and forgive those things that seems unforgiving. On this day of remembrance let us remember Ja 4:14 whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life: It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

  5. daisymarygoldr says:

    Even as we commemorate the precious lives that bought us our freedom, we are called to remember the greatest price that was paid for the freedom of our souls- the precious blood of Jesus Christ who was betrayed to death on the Mount of Olives. He rose up again to give us victory over death and will surely come again to stand on that very mount to rule the nations (Zech 14:4). Therefore, being no longer our own we belong to God and not to ourselves, which means:
    1) Our bodies are not our own i.e. we do not own our own flesh! We are merely stewards or trustees, managing that which God has given us for the purpose of doing what He has called us to do. How then can we even have the right to contemplate suicide???
    2) Our souls and our children’s souls do not belong to us (not even in our wildest imaginations) and the devil cannot touch God’s property without His permission. Since you have correctly acknowledged that “we are not God” and being assured of the Love of Christ that eternally binds us together, we should quit worrying about the lives of people we know and even those we don’t know!
    Death momentarily separates us and brings sorrow but we do not grieve like people who have no hope. As long as God allows us to live on this planet it is in our best interests and of those dear to us, to enjoy the richness of His blessings- one day at a time. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing” (Rev 5:12)!

  6. Elaa says:

    Truly, people abound in and around our lives for whom we cannot place a monetary value.

    Once, my immediate older sister jumped off a bus to save me as I was being dragged by the bus. I know she didn’t think she was endangering her life at that moment, but she was. Just to save mine.

    My parents are deceased. As much as lieth within me, I weigh whatever actions I take to be such that would not bring their name dishonor. This has always helped me in my Christian work.

    First, when they were alive (mostly my father because I got born-again after my mother had died), I always thought, if it matters to me so much not to embarrass my father, shouldn’t I be mindful of my actions seeing how I have identified myself to be a believer to the world!

    And now that they are gone, I consider living a life that they would be proud off a measure of my love for them. So I say, ‘don’t I want God to be proud of me also?’ My actions though are not to gain/maintain my salvation. It’s to honor those I love.

    I think it’s just as important to value one’s self. The price that was paid for one’s salvation is a good evaluation tool – the best no doubt. But also, I draw value from my older daughter (the other is too young to express value) and my sisters who always let me know I matter to them.

  7. poohpity says:

    Wow Mart this one is so BIG I do not believe we actually know all that it encompasses. Our soldiers are fighting for our freedom and the freedom of others, yet we complain. The parent who tells their child they are BAD for touching one of our keepsakes. The child of a single parent who believes that the other parent is not there because of them. The thousands of orphans who are left alone with no one to protect or feed them. The elderly who are stuck in care facilities because the family doesn’t have time to care for them. This one is even better the children that are left alone at home because their parents would rather have a new car or new home. How about the person who commits suicide because someone would rather throw scripture at them instead of holding them in their arms.

    This is really a sore issue with me because I look into the faces of children being taken care of by their grandparent who don’t really want them. Not just that but even in the church the people that walk around hurting so bad but no really knows because they just don’t have time. This topic is so relevant to our walk with the Lord this what He asked us to do, consider others more important than yourself. He said in essence you take care of the lest of these and I will take care of you.

    If you really think deep about this everything that is happening around the world has to do with the disrespect of HUMAN BEINGS. People are considered as dispensable, they are really just in the way of our own selfish desires.

  8. overcomer says:

    I definitely need to respect myself more. God loves and respects me yet so often I treat myself like dirt.
    We are going to judge angels! We are going to sit on thrones in heaven. Man is just so amazing because he is made in the image of God.
    Of course Christians can be tempted to commit suicide – and they sometimes succeed. It is only another form of murder. And we are all capable of that.

  9. Ted M. Gossard says:

    Yes. This is good to ponder and it really does help put things in perspective for us.

    The more we’re just taken up with things and our own benefit no matter what it might mean for others, the less human we are (as to what God created humans to be, realized of course in Jesus). The more we care about others over things, surely the more human we are.

    And one point on this is that is comes back to the first and greatest commandment and the second like it, To love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. All else is related to that.

    But yes, the image of God is so deeply imbued in us even as sinners, that we feel deeply the value of each person when we’re faced with a story or picture of someone who has died. And how much more does God.

    I do think we get numb with the scale of loss and just can’t handle all the deaths that we become aware of. But God wants us to be true with him and with others where we’re at.

  10. daisymarygoldr says:

    Been thinking a little more along these lines on my day off…sorry if I sounded off-sync in my previous response. There is empathy in the loss of life but I have no idea about what the Bible says about honoring fallen heroes other than being grateful for what they have done to defend the country.
    What is the value of a person when compared to the oil fields, the real estate, the industries, personal happiness, good health, and a long life? Is it not in our coveting to gain the whole world that we are losing precious lives? It is again a little too vague for me to grasp your thoughts for today…

  11. poohpity says:

    Daisy, I believe in my heart that our soldiers are doing a little more than protecting oil fields, etc.. The people that live in Iraq lived under a dictator that killed thousands of people for their beliefs. They have made a difference in so many peoples lives. What soldiers have done for this country over hundreds of years are what allow you to be able to express yourself on this blog. I am very offended on their behalf from your comments. As for what the Bible says about honoring fallen heroes, my country was founded with their blood and now I am able to own and read the Bible daily.

  12. daisymarygoldr says:

    poohpity, thanks for pointing out the importance of shed blood that bought us the freedom to live and read our Bibles.
    For you it is the blood of soldiers and for me it’s the Blood of Christ that speaks better things than any other blood. It is by the power of Christ’s Blood alone that I am able to live today and enjoy the freedom to worship God in my earthly sojourn. It is the Blood of Christ that made me a member of God’s family because of which I am able to relate to you and others while expressing myself on this blog.
    The kings and dictators and nations and countries of this passing world hold no meaning for me as my citizenship is in Heaven which God Himself secured for me with His own Life.
    Indeed, “The children…are left alone at home because their parents would rather have (covet) a new car or new home”
    Please do not be offended as I haven’t made light of the implication of the loss of lives and our fallen heroes. They rightly deserve our respect and honor for all that they have done and are doing to ensure the well being of this country.

  13. hal.fshr says:

    Some Bible scholars I have read point to humans being having been made in the image of God as the basis for the value of a person. Although we have been flawed by sin, the fact that we have emotion, intellect, will, conscience and self consciousness makes fellowship with God possilbe. How grateful I am that the Lord Jesus is committed to restoring that image in us (Romans 8:28-30).

  14. overcomer says:

    Ted M. Gossard Says:
    “I do think we get numb with the scale of loss and just can’t handle all the deaths that we become aware of.”

    Wow!! Thanks for that Ted. A great insight. I suddenly saw how once again the media has us focusing on the wrong things. I truly believe that man was not meant to handle this “Global village” that the media has created. Its too big!!!
    Its not a village it’s a monolithic crushing structure that is squeezing the life of compassion out of us. They call it “Compassion fatigue” don’t they?
    Thanks to Mart for the original inspiration but sometimes the comments I find here are the real icing on the cake.
    Thanks to all of you.

  15. Elriza says:

    I am so excited about discovering this – do you call it blog? Been receiving Daily Bread for a long time and this morning it was again about Melissa. Yes, what price do you accept or pay for the life of a person? My youngest daughter was also killed in a car accident 8 years ago at age 19. Praise the Lord, she found Him some two years before that (after a terrible about four years into drugs and satanism). Only after her death I realised what I would pay to have her back and that there is no price! Today, so many trivial matters don’t mean a thing compared to the value of people. Thank God that I can now place this value on the family that I still have – especially my husband, our other children and the grand children that God blessed us with! May God bless the good work of RBC Ministries.

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