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The value of life | Rebecca Starritt

Hey all! Now judging by the title, your expectations are probably already high. But let me be the one to bring those expectations down a peg and unpack exactly what I hope to achieve. First, let me introduce myself. I’m Rebecca. I’m 22 years old and I’m a Christian. I believe that God created the world and everything in it, I believe he sent His Son to die for our sins, and I believe in salvation through His name alone. It is in Him that I not only believe my purpose is found, but ultimately, the true purpose God wants us all to discover.

In today’s culture, so often we see people go through life without a sense of purpose, instead choosing to involve themselves in harmful activities or lifestyles. Their drive is solely for a temporary high, and they have no fears of the damage this can cause their bodies, as without purpose, they also struggle to see value in themselves. Our world overindulges on depressants as a social frivolity, opts for self-harm as an instinctive release, and argues child abortions in the name of sexual freedom. In the 21st century, life isn’t valuable. But God says otherwise.

Value and purpose go hand-in-hand. Often, whatever you attribute value to is also where you find your purpose. For instance, if it is important or of value to you to reach the ideal dress size, you most likely find purpose in losing weight and fitness regimes in order to achieve that. However, goals such as these are fleeting, as whilst they might be achieved and may also come with a certain level of pride, there are two possible responses to their accomplishment. One of these is the dissatisfaction with its completion –you aren’t truly fulfilled by this purpose and therefore keep ‘upping the ante’; a smaller and smaller dress size, in hopes that you will find an end point where this true satisfaction comes. The second response then, is a pursuit of more and more goals to fill this purposeless void, all the while finding very fleeting value in each after they are completed. Surely there is more to life than the encompass of many small purposeful tasks in order to find an overarching meaning behind it all?

And this is why I urge you to turn to the Bible, for its words can speak directly into the epidemic of hopelessness we are surrounded in. It speaks of a value far beyond our comprehension; a love from God, and a love so deep that He gave up His own Son to demonstrate it. Romans 5:7-8 states: ‘For one would scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person someone might dare to die. But God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ We are a selfish people, but for a good friend or family member a loyal person may dare to die. But Jesus, fully aware of the immensity of our sin and shame, whilst also knowing He had not sinned himself, unwaveringly put himself on the line for our sake.

I am not a big spender by any stretch of the imagination. I tend to carefully consider my purchases and will save money in case of a rainy day. However, one of my close friends recently spent quite a considerable amount of money on a designer bag, knowing full well the jibes and stern words I’d give her for it. But all jokes aside, she could justify this buy because she saw value in the bag – she had been saving for it for a long time and she knew she would use it. Therefore, the cost didn’t matter to her because in her eyes, the bag had value. The value of something is evident in the price paid for it, and Jesus paid the greatest price for us – the sacrifice of His own life.

How then, do we begin to respond to this unfailing love? Well often, knowing something has value attributes more care to be taken over it. Despite the bag perhaps not having a lot of value in my eyes, should my friend ask me to hold it, I would take extra care of it, knowing how much it meant to her and the price she paid for it. But why would God see value in us if we let Him down daily? The bottom line is that God is our Heavenly Father, and the love a Father has for his child is inexplicable. No matter how much we stray or sin, He awaits with open arms, ready to welcome us home [Luke 15:20].

However, knowing the value something has also provokes a desire to discover a deeper purpose. To continue with the bag metaphor, my friend will want to get a lot of use out of the bag given she knows how much money she spent on it. I’m sure many of you have heard of the analogy Jesus uses in Luke 8 – ‘No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.’ The light has a purpose, and it would be silly knowing how valuable it can be, not to place it in a space where it can ‘earn its keep’ for lack of better terminology. This also applies to our lives too. We have knowledge of the value God places on our lives, but we only encompass that fully when we live out the purpose God attributed to it – His command to go and make disciples of all nations by the spreading of His Word.

The cross is the pinnacle moment when God’s love for His people transcends onto Earth – John 3:16 spells it out: ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.’ The curtain is torn, justice is won, the price is paid. But God doesn’t stop there. He proves His sovereignty in His defiance over death itself at His resurrection; the ultimate testament that we serve a living God, and His immortality evidence of the true, eternal life we receive through Him.

I find it interesting to note however, that immediately after the Resurrection, the Great Commission are the first words Jesus utters to His followers. There is a command that comes with the receiving of this value – to go and love others in the same way. God is love and therefore demonstrates the perfect representation of it in His deep sacrifice, but with this knowledge and from being on the receiving end of this outpouring of love, He commands us to do likewise [1 John 4:19]. From knowing the deep love God has for us, we are not only equipped with purpose – to share of the great mercy and forgiveness through Him – but also have a perfect example of love of which we must aspire to replicate.

To summarise, life doesn’t have empty value. Value is not found after the lifelong pursuit of one’s unique purpose, for a lack of it often results in a sense of worthlessness. Instead, the Bible says you are loved and valued because you are made in God’s image – before anyone has loved you; before you have achieved great things, before you were even known by anyone, God loved you [Psalm 139]. Our purpose is then formed in the understanding of our value – knowing how much we mean to God, our life holds value, and we therefore have a desire to use it to advance His kingdom and live in accordance with how He envisioned. This life is only a glimpse of what is to come, but it is clear that in both this life and the next, you mean more to God than you could ever comprehend.

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