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Friday, June 3, 2016

No "sticker-shock" here!

I don’t cling to my life for my own sake. The only value I place on my life is that I may finish my race, that I may fulfill the ministry that Jesus our King has given me, that I may gladly tell the good news of God’s grace.  (Acts 20:23-24 VOICE)

Value is often something "assigned" by another - but is also based upon what we have come to give credence to, spend time working at, and get some sort of enjoyment from ourselves.  Someone may set the value of a new vehicle at "X" amount of dollars and people will flock to the showrooms to buy one.  Others may have fallen in love with an "old clunker" kind of car, take tremendous care of it, and buy an exact duplicate of it again if they had the chance.  Why? They have assigned a value to that vehicle beyond the sticker price.  It has become something useful to them and which brings them enjoyment.  The one heading to the new car showroom may not understand that value, but the one who possesses that "awesome car" certainly does!  We all have probably had those moments when we realize we didn't know how much we valued something or someone until that thing or person was no longer a part of our lives. It is truly a sad moment to realize what we placed "value" in is no longer there.

Value isn't always the value another places upon an object, a relationship, or the decision right there in front of us at this very moment.  It might just be value is determined more by how something or someone impacts our lives than anything else.  There are times when I have to ask the tough question: "Does what I am doing right now make sense - is there 'value-added' to my life or my work because of what I am doing right now?"  It might be the toughest question we ask ourselves about what gives or brings value to our lives.  We sometimes think the next big thing, a different relationship, or the job someone else tells us about will be the very thing to bring us greater "value" in life.  Often it is the things we don't fully recognize which either add value or end up taking it away.

Grace adds value, but grace isn't always recognized.  We might recognize it when we find ourselves "caught" in our moment of sin - standing there with "egg on our face", so to speak.  On the other hand, when we say something kind of unkind and someone overlooks the offensiveness of those words, do we always see that as grace and come to value the relationship even more?  Not always. There are times when grace is given and we are clueless!  I believe the more we come to value the "grace" within our relationships, the more we might just value our relationships.  The more we value the receiving of grace, it is entirely possible we will learn to value the giving of grace, as well.

The world around us might tell us to value certain things, such as status, power, privilege; or even beauty, good looks, or a great physique.  Are we being taught to value the integrity of others?  How about the genuineness of their heart's devotion?  Or even the depth of their compassion and gratitude?  Not always. The things we see on the outside are often not what really makes a man or woman "valued" in life.  It is what is at the core that really matters - the place where they have connected with grace themselves and understand others need that same connection.  It isn't the fanciest car in the showroom, but it is the one you can rely upon time after time again!  Just sayin!