Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Face Value

Coupons have become quite the rage lately.  From the occasional couponer to those who call themselves "extreme," it seems nearly everyone has caught the bug these days.  I admit that I, too, have been sucked into this trend, and sometimes it's quite a thrill!  To walk away from the store having saved 40 or 50 percent or more is a good feeling.

One day I made the mistake of leaving my coupon binder at the register of our local discount store.  When I called the store later to see if that, indeed, was where I had left it, no one could locate it.  I got a sort of sick feeling in my stomach.  All I could think of was all that money that I would have saved if I hadn't lost those coupons.  To me, those coupons were as good as money, and a lot of it.

It's funny how how much those little pieces of paper were worth to me.  Some of them would save me 50 cents, some a dollar, and a few even more than that.  Cumulatively they may have even been worth a hundred or more.  But have you ever taken the time to read the fine print on a coupon?  Most of them say in teeny-tiny print that their face value is only 1/20 of one cent, or something like that.  The entire notebook may have only been worth a dollar or two at that rate.

I started thinking about that this morning as I was sorting through a stack of coupons before I headed off to do my weekly grocery shopping.  (By the way, I did find my binder; it was tucked safely away at the service desk at the store.)  I started thinking about how something that could be worth so little to one person could be quite valuable to another.  Is value, like beauty, all in the eye of the beholder?  Is our value as human beings at the mercy of the people around us?

Fortunately, contrary to what much of the world tries to tell us, our value is NOT in the eye of the beholder.  Our value has absolutely nothing to do with the opinions of other people, no matter how strongly they voice that opinion.  Most of my life I have heard negative opinions about myself.  I know the positive opinions were there, too, but those negative words... wow, did they ever stand out.  I have been, and am still at times, highly susceptible to Satan's lie that if people don't approve of me, I am nothing.  But I am learning to hear the voice of the One whose opinion of me truly does determine my value.  His is a voice that carries no derision or disparagement, but instead speaks of the great love that He has for me.  And it is that love that makes me truly valuable.

A coupon, whose face value is only a fraction of a penny, is worth only what a business is willing to give in exchange for it.  If the same concept were true of people, then my life would only be worth what someone was willing to give in exchange for it.  Incredibly enough, God was willing to give the life of His Only Son in exchange for mine. 

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8) 

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us..." (1 John 3:16)

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."  (John 3:16)

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure there's anyone on the face of this earth that I would be willing to sacrifice one of my sons for.  Maybe that sounds harsh, but I love all three of my boys more than life itself, and I can't imagine asking any of them to suffer and die the way Jesus did.  Perhaps I could give my own life, but certainly not the life of one of my children.  And yet God was willing to do that for each one of us because He values us so very much.  That is truly an amazing, awesome love.

I am so glad that God sees beyond the surface, beyond my "face value," and sees a person worth dying for.  I am grateful every day that He has claimed me as His own, that He paid the price for my sin.  I rejoice in the fact that His love for me makes me valuable beyond compare.  It is an "extreme" kind of love, indeed.

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