Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

February 20, 2010

The Price of Value

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Some things are more valuable to us than can be spoken.  Some things we consider of value perhaps do not have the value we assume.  A question needs to be considered.  What price will we pay to have that which we consider so valuable?  Let me share two stories that might help define an answer to that question. 

I was in Waco, Texas during a devastating tornado.  Flooding became a severe concern.  Areas of the city were already under water, with the expectation that flooding would extend into areas never known to flood.  As a volunteer, I was assigned with another young man to go into a certain area and provide rescue for those in that area.

We were provided with a boat for the rescue.  However, it was a boat that had simply been retrieved from someone’s yard.  There was no motor.  There were no paddles.  How could we maneuver and power the boat.  “Do the best you can,” was the response from the one in charge.

We determined that we would simply walk on each side of the boat until the water got too deep.  Then we would simply kick our legs to provide power and maneuverability.  There were places we had to do exactly that, but for the most part, the water was only about 4 feet deep.  As we approached a home, a elderly man was sitting on his porch watching the water rise.  We talked with him and indicated that we were there to take him to safety.  He seemed insulted that we would even suggest that he leave his home.  He explained that the water would never come into his home, and even if it did, he was staying.  He rebuffed our insistence of the danger.  We explained that there would not be a later opportunity to leave.  We pleaded with him.  His response was that all he owned was in his home.  If he lost those things, he would have no life.  He placed the value of those possession over his life.

In contrast, I was walking one day down an old road outside Chongju, Korea.  A woman was sitting outside a make-shift house.  It was made of various lumber that she had found and where lumber was lacking, she had used cardboard and plastic.  I nodded to her with a smile, and she immediately came toward me.  I paused to allow her to approach me.

She spoke in broken English.  Her first words were, “I am a Christian.”   She assumed I was a Christian simply because I was an American.  She then began to tell me her story.  She had escaped from North Korea at the outset of the Korean Conflict.  She and her family abandoned all their possessions.  In the midst of the escape, she found herself separated from her family.  She was now living alone with no means of support and in a terrible plight. 

Her story caused my heart to be saddened for her.  But before I could respond to her situation, she broke out in thanksgiving and praise to God.  She was so grateful to Him for where she was, and the joy of being alive on that day.  Her heart was overflowing.  She had lost everything, including her family.  She had little prospect of any kind of future.  Yet, the value of her life in relationship with God was priceless.

Now I consider the contrast of these two.  What price will I pay for what is truly valuable?  More important, do I understand the real values in life?  Life, relationships, God, possessions, comfort . . . what is truly valuable?

The Bible gives us clear direction to our question.

“What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”  (Luke 6:15)                                                     “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”   (Matthew 16:26)           “Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . .  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. . . .  Life is more important than . . . food . . . clothes.”  (Matthew 6:19-21, 25)



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