By Steven Chan
1. The challenge of ascertaining what is truly valuable is a daunting task. From our observations, people ascribe different values to various things. Is value subjective or objective? It is not the purpose of this article to discuss that question. The purpose of this present discussion is to highlight what God our creator has revealed to us about what He values – and by extension what we ought also to similarly value.
2. In what is often referred to as the “sermon on the mount”, Jesus taught: ““Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Matt 6:25-27)
3. Jesus addressed the common concerns of man: the worries and anxieties of survival. He highlighted that “life” is more than about just what is needed to sustain it – and similarly our “body” is more than just what is needed to cover it. Failing to realize the afore-stated facts, many have spent their lives just worrying and working for their sustenance while over-looking the origin, purpose and meaning of life.
4. Jesus asked them to consider “the birds of the air” and “the lilies of the field” – that “your heavenly Father” feeds and clothes them. In other words, God provided for them – when He created them and placed them on earth. God provided the birds with “nests” in the trees (Mark 4:32) and the glory of beautiful flowers for the lilies of the field.
5. Jesus reminded them of “your Heavenly Father”. God as our “heavenly Father” provided for His creation. Then Jesus asked rhetorically: “Are you not of more value than they?”. Although all of God’s creation is valuable to our Creator, Jesus declared that man is of greater value than all other created things.
6. In Luke 12:6-7, Jesus again reaffirmed man’s value to God when He said: ““Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
7. Some have ascribed almost equal value to animals as to man – when Jesus expressly declared that man is of more value than many sparrows. In Matt 12: 11-12, recorded thus about Jesus: “Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep?”.
8. The point that Jesus wanted us to understand is that we have a “heavenly Father” who “values us”, cares and provides for us. We are not on our own; we have not been abandoned. He cares and He values us. He wants us to have fellowship with Him – Jesus said in Matt 6: 32-33: “For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” God wants us to “seek Him first”. Our sins have separated us from God (Isa 59:1-2). But God has provided us the way through Jesus Christ for us to be reconciled to Him (Rom 5:1-11).
9. In view of the fact that man is valuable in God’s sight, we ought not to “murder”, or be angry with one another without a (just) cause, call one another “Raca” (“empty head”) or “thou fool” (Matt 5:22) and we should seek to live at peace with one another (Matt 5:23-24; Rom 12:18).
10. Man is valuable to God because He created us in His own image (Gen 1:26-27). Gen 9:6: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God
He made man.” So, it is imperative that we respect our fellow men and treat them as God desires for us all to treat one another. God who created us in His own image is our “heavenly Father” and so we ought to live in such a way as to bring glory to Him: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:16). We can also draw courage and comfort from our heavenly Father “For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Heb 13:5-6)