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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Value and worth

I must apologize. A whole week has gone by and I haven't posted anything here. Well it certainly isn't because I haven't been busy, because I have. ... Bible study, church history, birthday celebrations and general goofing off when and if there's time. Goofing off this week meant Facebook, where I spend very little time on a regular basis. I'm sure I've made up for all those days I don't spend on it in the past two days. I remember when I first became acquainted with Facebook that it was very time-consuming and a good waster of time. Well I became re-acquainted with that aspect this week. Must ween myself away from that now....

Last Thursday I started reading about value, prefacing it with the thought, "When you put your cares in God's hands, He puts His peace in your heart." That, of course, does not have anything to do with value, but it's certainly worth thinking about and doing as well.

As for value, I came across several verses, which also led me to wisdom:

"... You are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:31)

"Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep?..." (Matthew 12:12)

Our value, our worth is determined by God, not by our individual emotions or by others' opinions of us. If you believe you are nothing, if you believe you are worthless, then you are rejecting the very One who created you, the One who died for you.

Jesus too was rejected - by men, but that didn't determine His value. His value, His worth, is determined by God -- of whom He was chosen, of whom He is precious -- and therefore, as are we.

Read what 1 Peter 2: 4-8 says:
"Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,
you also, as living stones are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is also contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame. Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed."

"For the price of wisdom is above rubies." (Job 28:18)

All the treasures of the world do not bring wisdom.

"For wisdom is better than rubies," (Proverbs 8:11)

"... more precious than rubies" (Proverbs 3:15)

"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies." (Proverbs 31:10)

When I came to the above verse, of course I had to read the entire chapter and then I had to re-read it in different versions of the Bible. A virtuous woman is of noteworthy, fine character. She is of more value than all the treasures of the world. Proverbs 31 from The Message follows:

"A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
they winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect her and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
'May women have done wonderful things,
but you've outclassed them all!'
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!"

Proverbs always contains much useful information for us to live by. Reading from Chicken Soup for the Soup New Living Translation of the Bible, I gained much insight from the following verses:

"My child, listen to me and treasure my instructions. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight and understanding. Search for them as your would for lost money or hidden treasure. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of good sense to the godly. He is their shield, protecting those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of justice and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will know how to find the right course of action every time. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fil you with joy. Wise planning will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. Wisdom will save you from evil people, from those whose speech is corrupt. These people turn from right ways to walk down dark and evil paths. They rejoice in doing wrong, and they enjoy evil as it turns things upside down. What they do is crooked, and their ways are wrong. ... Follow the steps of good men instead, and stay on the paths of the righteous. For only the upright will live in the land, and those how have integrity will remain in it. But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be destroyed." (Proverbs 2: 1-15, 20-22) Chapter 3 continues in this vein.

We are all of much value. We should not think otherwise, nor should we follow in the paths of unrighteousness.

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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6