Pastor Pat Duffin,
High Prairie Christian Centre
What are you worth? It depends on who you ask, of course.
But we each occupy more space in this world than we fully grasp. To the banker and the money lender, our signature carries great value although the bottom line varies according to our financial statement.
To the economist, we each occupy a decimal point in the financial health of the nation.
To the insurance agent, we are a desirable asset until something unfortunate turns us into a liability.
Usually, we first associate our value with the material things we collect. Our financial net worth is the bottom line that defines our social standing in the pecking order of significance.
While there’s nothing wrong in appreciating things that bring you joy, some believe your worth in this world is determined by your actions, not your possessions. They would argue that great people are measured by their legacy of heroic deeds and great accomplishments.
Thinking beyond the material, they are concerned about what sort of legacy we each will pass on. Will our personal legacy make a difference in the world? Will the world be a better place for our having passed through?
Mashable Magazine printed an article about how Facebook makes money through its members. The online privacy company Abine supplied a “Val-You Quiz” that determines your dollar value to Facebook. The quiz asks you where you live, how often you ‘Like’ posts, play Zynga games and even asks your plans for your presence on Facebook in the future.
Kristina Kennedy, VP of marketing at Abine, told Mashable that the purpose of the quiz is to raise awareness about the fact that Facebook uses your personal data to make a profit — and make quiz takers question the security of that information. She also revealed your financial significance is even defined by Facebook with the average Facebook user valued at $50 in worth to the advertiser.
So, even absolute strangers put a value on you. This should be no surprise to any of us. I have known since I was a teenager that TV advertisers weren’t really buying time on TV. They were actually buying audience. We were the product the networks were buying.
If you doubt this, just look at the cost of time on networks when there is a major entertainment event. If they were selling time the price wouldn’t change. Advertisers don’t want time, they want audience because time doesn’t buy anything, people do. We are the product they buy. Therefore, we each have a personal footprint that strangers are tracking in order to turn us into profit.
In the work world, the value of your contribution determines the value of your employer’s earnings. To ensure they aren’t overpaying you, they have a whole tool kit of analytics to determine how much you are worth to the company. They also worry about how much you are worth to the competition, as well. Your insider knowledge of the company’s health, its business secrets and strategic plans make you valuable even to people you don’t know.
Organizations spend a lot of money to protect a lot of money. They may talk about how they value their employees as their best asset, but that only remains true so long as you remain financially beneficial.
If you want to know how valuable you are to the company, just look at where you are on the pay scale. The scale measures in real dollars exactly how much they value you. Time magazine reported that Stamford economists, using the cost of dialysis as a bench mark, have calculated that one year of life is worth $129,000, at least so far as medical insurance is concerned.
Someone else reduced the human body to its chemical elements and determined the human body would be worth between $3.50 for the minerals in the skin, and an extra dollar if you throw in the rest of the body. Reduced to your chemical components, your entire worth would garner a total of $4.50!
On the other hand, Wired Magazine calculated that if human body parts were sold as individual components, e.g. kidneys, liver, heart, eyes, lungs, bone marrow, hair, skin, all together could be worth as much as $45 million!
Sadly, while you may be worth that much, you will never live to see it. Somebody else benefits!
But, who can ethically put a dollar value on a human life? Aren’t we so much more than that? Isn’t that why the first “things” people rescue from fire and flood are their photographs? It’s not the images themselves we protect, but the memories of loved ones and cherished relationships represented in those images.
How do you put a value on father, mother, child or spouse? We can’t! Witness how many, without hesitation, have sacrificed house and possessions to help a loved one in crisis. We would sacrifice anything and everything for those we love. To do less would be unthinkable.
Understanding this, we now begin to approach a solid understanding of personal worth. Our worth is not found in ourselves. Our worth is established in the love and esteem lavished upon us by others.
But, not all families are loving. Not all friends are true. And no human being loves with a perfect love. Thank God there is One who is love personified. [1 John 4:8] He loves us with a perfect and infinite love. Our objective worth derives from God’s love for us and the sacrificial price He paid on our individual behalf.
“It was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ.” [1 Peter 1:18–19]
Therefore, no matter what your critics say, your worth by God’s standard is so great that it is infinite and inestimable.
So then, let us each warm our hearts in God’s love, and turn ourselves toward Him as we would turn our faces to the sun, and learn to passionately love Him in return.
Could anything be more important?