People have value because they are loved

With the 2014 Christmas season is behind us, our family has begun the task of making room for the new gifts in the house.

In our family, this process is made especially challenging by the fact that I never know what items my daughters have suddenly decided to cherish. Ever since they were at a very young age, both of my daughters have a pattern of finding, giving names to, and eventually forming a deep attachment to random objects. Household cleaning turns into a minefield. More than once have I thrown away what I thought was random clutter only to discover I had just thrown away “her special piece of bark” or “her favorite button.” Don’t even consider clearing out any stuffed animals … every one of them is pretty much family. I can be assured that the older and rattier the stuffed animal, the more likely that heavy drama would result from its “accidental” disappearance.

These things are valuable, not because of their price tag, but because they are loved.

In the Gospel of Luke Jesus tells the story: “… suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

This coin was a drachma, worth roughly a day’s wages. A missing drachma was probably worth turning a couple of couch cushions over for, but a party with the neighbors seems a bit excessive. The real value of the coin, however, is hinted at in the beginning of the story when Jesus states that it was one of a set of 10. Jewish women of the time would commonly receive a dowry of 10 coins, which was then worn as jewelry. The coin may not have had life-changing monetary value, its value to the woman was incalculable.

In a culture that sharply divided people into “good” and “bad” categories, Jesus was making a bold statement about how God felt about people who were considered sinners. Just like the coin, or the prodigal son in the story just before it, or even an old stuffed animal, we can often feel like we don’t have a lot of value to anyone. Thoughtless words spoken to us in a difficult time, rejection from people we looked up to, or even the regret of our own poor decisions can easily make us begin to believe the lie that we are worth very little. In those times, remember that Jesus words in Luke 15 are written to remind us that we have great worth to our Creator, not because of our contributions or market value, but because we are cared for by Him.

Be encouraged and blessed as you move forward into 2015!

Rev. Grant Parkki is the Christian Education Associate Pastor at Kenai New Life. Kenai New Life is located at 209 Princess Street in Kenai, with Sunday services at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., with programs for children, youth, and adults at 6:30 on Wednesday evenings. You can find out more about the church and its ministries at kenainewlife.org.

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