Can you imagine going into a courtroom today, having a woman on the witness stand, give her account about an alleged crime with much conviction and passion, only for the Judge to reply, “Thank you for your account of what happened. Unfortunately, your testimony is only worth half of a man’s. So we can’t really take it that seriously. Thanks again.”
There would be a war waged if that ever happened!
Unbelievably, that’s how things went down in biblical times when Abraham moved his family around, when Jacob patiently waited for Rachel, when Moses wandered around in the desert, and when Jesus stood by the adulterous woman. Women were given little value. So they clung to whatever value they could get! Motherhood.
Considering this, it makes more sense to read, “When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” (Genesis 30:1, NIV).
Rachel wasn’t being too dramatic. She saw her value declining in light of her sister, and likely the servants around them. She had no child. She could bear no heir. She, at least by the false sense of value she chased after, and who others supported, was worthless. Subsequently, she and Leah began a child-bearing competition to see who could give Jacob more children. Rachel spent her time and energy chasing after a false sense of value, despite already being valued by God.
Whew. It’s such a good thing that we don’t chase after the admiration and approval of others. It’s such a relief that we don’t place false sense of values on ourselves and on each other. It’s good that we don’t fall victim to thinking, “If only I . . .” We don’t place false values on ourselves, do we?
I do. Not I did, like it’s a past action I’ve overcome. I do, as in I do every day and struggle to overcome it every day.
Am I valuable? Oh, if only I was a little taller (So I could dunk a basketball). Oh, if only I had a bigger house (or a house at all). Oh, if only I made just a little more money. The latter, affects a lot of men I know. There is a false sense of value and success men give to the digits in their paychecks. I don’t want to, but ashamedly, I do also more than I care to admit.
I have people close to me who make what I make in 12 months, in 30 days. I see multi-millionaires at church driving cars that are worth more than our last house. And when I do, in that brief moment, I sigh, and say, “What have I really done with my life? Am I valuable? Have I made myself someone? What do people really think of me? Maybe I need to do something besides working with teenagers and young adults?”
GET BEHIND ME SATAN!
I’ve fallen victim to the false values society has placed on me. And I’ve turned those false values into gods. All the while, I am a child of God! And so are you if you’ve ever experienced one of those, “If only I . . .” moments.
To think that God would send his only Son to die for us is mind boggling. I still can’t wrap my head around that and now that I have my son, there’s no way I ever will. No one is laying a hand on baby Maddox! But hypothetically, very-very hypothetically, if ever I gave up Maddox’s life for anyone, then you can safely assume how valuable and precious that person might be. And there is absolutely nothing else that person can do to add or detract from the value I’ve already clearly given him/her and the value I gave up for him/her.
Very-very hypothetical for me. Not so much with God.
So how valuable must you and I be? SUPER VALUABLE! HOLY MOLY VALUABLE!
I hate using this next verse, mainly because it’s the default verse for most Christians, but here it goes. “God so loved (you) that he gave away his only Son . . .” (John 3:16).
Isn’t that crazy? (The answer is “yes.”).
If we can wrap our head around that, it can change our perception of what is valuable and that can change our decisions, the time and effort we put into things; everything. To know that you’re a big deal . . . is a big deal. It’s life changing.
One of my favorite movies captured what this looks like, though I’m guessing it won’t be in your top ten. It’s Saving Private Ryan. Private Ryan, played by Matthew Damon, is the last survivor among all his brothers who also served in the World War. In an effort to save him, Captain Miller, played by Tom Hanks, along with his men, gave up their lives to get him out of harm’s way. And they did.
The movie concludes with a final scene between an older Private Ryan, and the tombstone that belongs to Captain Miller (Hanks). Ryan says, “Everyday . . . I’ve tried to live my life the best I could . . . I hope I’ve earned (We don’t earn anything from God- just for the record. It’s not a perfect illustration) what you’ve done for me.” Then he asks his wife, “Tell me I’ve lived a good life. Tell me . . . that I’m a good man.”
She answered, “You are.”
Private Ryan lived his life remembering the value that saved him, and how valuable that made him. It shaped his life. I’m only guessing that it also shaped how he treated his loving family that joined him at the cemetery.
So if you’re ever wondering and desperate to make yourself valuable, or if you’re in that moment when you cut yourself down, remember the value that saved you, and how valuable that makes you.