Tag Archives: value

Matthew 18 – Value

“Value” is an interesting word.  We talk about how valuable something is, or how something has value, or is a value.  Yet,  that value is not really standard.  The saying goes that “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  What is important / significant / valuable to one person is worthless to another.  One person sees “high art” another sees “junk”.  One sees “junk” and another sees “potential”.  Even the value of money is dependent upon the person and situation.  To some people, money is everything!  They seek after it even at the cost of the people around them.  To others, money is nothing but a tool… and not a very good one at that!

So it should be no surprise that what Christ or God values can be very different than what we value.  The disciples came to Jesus at one point and asked Him, “Who then is the greatest (has the most value) in the kingdom of heaven?”  Jesus response is, unexpectedly, a child.  One must have faith as a child, and anyone who receives a child in His name, receives Him.

What’s more, anyone who causes a child to stumble (away from God) has done such a grave danger that he may as well have been drowned… not that Christ is condoning murder.  This is such an issue that Jesus give His disciples the analogy that if their eye causes them to stumble, they need to pluck it out.

The analogy of value seems to continue with the picture of the flock of sheep.  When one sheep wanders off, Christ says that He will leave the entire flock of sheep to seek out the ONE that is lost!  He values each person so much, that He would leave everything else behind to rescue one lost soul.  If that doesn’t define our value to Him, i don’t know what will.

He goes on even further.  We must value others enough to not only discipline them, and kick them out when they refuse to accept the truth, but we must also forgive them as well!  So when a man / woman sins against you, hurts you, and your pride, you must be willing to forgive; not just 7 times, but 7, 70 times (or as many as it takes).  Yet that forgiveness does not preclude discipline and even to the removal of the offender.  Why, because God values His creation, even to the point of understanding the need for discipline and the removal of the cancerous.

Do we value His whole creation?  Or do we only care about those who directly affect us?

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Leviticus 27 – Belonging to God

I was not expecting the last chapter of Leviticus (the book of the law) to be what it is.  I don’t quite know what i was expecting.  For some reason i figured it would be about some parting words the LORD had for Moses before leaving Mount Sinai, or that Moses and the sons of Israel packed up what they had and began to head out to Canaan.

Instead this last chapter is about value, ownership, dedication to the LORD, and tithe.  It starts out placing a monetary value on people of different ages.  Each has a different value depending on their age, sex, and the amount of time until the year of jubilee.  What i think is interesting about this is that it pushes this concept that ownership of people, animals, homes, and land only truly belongs to the LORD / YHWH.

When most things of true value are sold or redeemed, they are done so with reference to the year of Jubilee.  If a field is dedicated to the LORD, the priest places the value of that field at a certain price, related to how many years until the year of jubilee.  After which the LORD reverts that land back to the family that He initially gave it to.

Thus it is not slavery, but servanthood.  When a person is “sold”, they are done so in reference to the amount of labor that person would do between then and the year of jubilee.  It is understood that the “Master” is not “buying” a person.  They are simply paying for service from a person for a certain time period.  This would be similar to a person signing a contract to work for a company for a certain number of years.

The other major theme is that of tithe.  Of all of the animals that the people of Israel own, one out of every 10 must be returned to God.  As they go through the gate, every 10th, whether male or female, the pick of the flock or a little sickly one, the 10th gets dedicated to Him.  Also, the first that opens the womb is holy to YHWH.  Thus the first lamb, the first goat, the first bull, etc. that are born; they must be dedicated to YHWH and returned to Him.

The emphasis here is ownership.  Everything; the land, the people, the flocks, the fruit of the harvest, they all belong to YHWH.  We are simply caretakers receiving back a part of the profits from our hard work.  Do we view life and our work  that way?  Do we recognize that all that we “own” belongs not to us but to YHWH?  Do we treat people and our things as if this is the case?  Should we?

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Leviticus 11 – Food!

What makes something clean or unclean?  What gives one thing value over another?  Is it its color, its shape, its size?  How about its purpose, the way it’s used, or how strong it is?  What gives you and i value?

We live our lives day after day giving value to one thing over another.  We set priorities in our lives.  Yes, i will take that call.  No, i don’t have time for that meeting.  Will i rise early and do my devotions, or will i shut off the alarm and get some much needed extra sleep.  In everything we do we are giving things, people, and situations value and purpose in our lives.

In this chapter, YHWH is doing the same thing.  God is saying, these kinds of animals have value when it comes to what you eat.  These others are not worth keeping around.  If you eat these animals it’s alright, if you even touch the carcasses of these you will be unclean.  You should definitely not touch them to eat them.  They are forbidden.

It’s interesting to me seeing what makes the clean different from the unclean.  The clean animals are all herbivores.  None of them purposefully eat another living creature.  Thus the carrion birds are forbidden.  Those who eat unclean things are forbidden.  Thus pigs are rejected.  Insects that have jointed legs with which to jump are clean.  So grasshoppers and locusts are clean, but spiders and ants are not.

One of the things that really interests me is understanding the very nature of these kinds of animals for food.  For instance, sheep, the most common animal used for meat for the Israelites, are the healthiest meat there is other than buffalo.  Meanwhile, fish with scales and fins are very healthy for you with oils that are very good for you.  What YHWH has called the “clean” animals have time and again proven to be the best meats nutritionally and health wise.

It’s almost like God’s rules about food and meats actually work to help keep you healthy!  Imagine that!  I wonder how many other of His rules and regulations benefit man in the same kinds of ways?

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Exodus 1 – Purpose?

Today has just started as one of those days.  I got up, got my chapter done, and in a short 21 verse chapter i just could not stay awake.  It took me quite a bit longer than it should have.  Afterwards i immediately went back to bed and crashed… hard.  This project can be a real struggle sometimes.  I love it, and i love doing it, but on days like today i just want to quit.  I wonder if it’s really worth getting up two hours early to get the chapter copied over and the post written?

Add to that the fact that i am a man in my early 30’s and i feel like i have accomplished nothing in my life.  That’s at least a third of my life gone, with what feels like nothing to show for it.

Then i look at this passage, and i wonder.  Joseph was a man who did what God called him to do.  He put all this work, time, and effort into being the man of God that was needed for the time.  God spent all that time prepping him, and he worked so hard for Pharaoh.  He perhaps single handedly (with God’s direction) saved the lands of Egypt and Canaan from a major drought that would have left the land barren and the people starved to death.

He did all this, and “(n)ow a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.”  This new king owed everything he owned to Joseph, but that didn’t matter.  Joseph struggled, worked, and toiled all his life, helped Egypt to grow in prosperity and strength, and it doesn’t matter.  The king saw all of the Israelites in the land and decided that that was going to be his target.  Joseph’s work and all that he did didn’t mean a thing to this Pharaoh.

I struggle with this because, if all that Joseph did ceases to matter, and he, with God’s direction, did some amazing things, how much more I.  Do i even matter?  Does anything that i could accomplish really matter?  I’ve gotten this far into my life, and it feels like i have accomplished little of real value, but even if i did, does it really matter?  Fifty years after my death, will anyone even remember me or what i have done?  If they do, will they even care?

 

John Camiolo

P.S.  I know, i know.  Many of you will point out that what Joseph did did matter.  After all, we know Joseph’s story, and it was all a part of God’s much bigger plan.  Also some will say that it’s not about our credit here, but we are storing up treasures in heaven…  I understand these concepts and more, but there are times when the facts get buried in how we feel.  And that’s where i’m at today.

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Genesis 23 – Dust

From ashes to ashes; from dust to dust.  Her time had come, and Sarah was no more.  After everything that has happened, it’s hard to imagine Sarah (Sarai) no longer being in the picture.  It’s also a signal that though one main character may be gone (and another nearing the end of his journey); a story may take a pause, but history stops for no one.

Life must go on, and Abraham has a responsibility to care for his deceased.  Even in a time of mourning, the work is never done.  Abraham sets about getting the appropriate final resting place for his wife and family.  He already knows what he wants and is looking for.  So he goes to make the transaction and we yet again see his mentality that he will not take what is not his.  He is offered the land and cave that he wants free of charge, but he insists that he will only take what he has rightfully paid for.  Its value resides in what its value is to the one who owns or is seeking it.  If a man is not willing to pay fair price for it, is it worth owning?

 

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