A close friend smiled peacefully as he went bravely to his death. In contrast, I’ve also been witness to the trembling fright and paling faces of people who knew their expiration date was swiftly approaching. There is nothing like visiting the threshold of death to cause a person to assess the value of life, especially when it’s their own.
Perhaps the mysterious unknown of death is the most frightening aspect. That’s what set the apprehensive ones apart from my dear friend who is now departed. He was fully convinced that behind the door of death lie true life in the spiritual realm.
What is it that gives human life such a high value? Aristotle said, “The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” I would agree with the ‘awareness’ aspect of such a statement, if it were in reference to knowledge of the truth.
Even Darwin knew how precious life is in relation to its duration. “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
Professor Kalu Kalu says, “The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.”
Living our lives in service to others is indeed a healthy means of maintaining a good mid-level self-esteem and warding off depression. The sum of our character and what we do with our lives, however, is not what is needed to gauge its worth. By themselves good deeds can produce an undesired affect. But once we come to know God, and have placed our faith in Christ Jesus, the Spirit teaches us humility. The humility we are taught in God’s word and through the Spirit combined with God’s valuation of you make for the perfect balance of self-worth.
“Low self-esteem has been shown to be correlated with a number of negative outcomes, such as depression.” (Silverstone & Salsali 2003). On the opposite side of the coin research shows that too high of a self-esteem also creates negative outcomes. The perfect balance, however is found in a right relationship with God. Learning God’s valuation of you combined with the humility the Spirit teaches Christians creates an ideal balance.
No one person can know how life is valued, because human life is not given its worth by self-valuation. Who can rightly determine the worth of any life, be it their own or another’s? The sanctity of people’s lives has been priced by the one who created life in the first place. In our Creator’s eyes every soul on earth who has ever lived was valuable enough to send His own Son to die in their stead.
When I visited a few auto manufacturers in Detroit I was educated on how the price of a car was determined. The company who makes the automobile is the only one who truly knows what each automobile is worth. They know the time, effort and costs that went into its production, and there’s other considerations also in determining its value, and its price-tag. When someone purchases one of those shiny new automobiles they are required by law to have it insured before driving it on the roadways. There’s the possibility of accidents which may result in the loss of human life. Not that money could ever compensate for such a loss.
God is the Creator of life and the owner of all that He has made. All life belongs to Him, therefore He is the one who valuates what you and I are worth. I’m amazed that He would think so highly of me as to go to such extensive lengths to insure me against the loss of eternal life. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And God’s Son reiterated that fact. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
While everyone may have their own opinion on any other particular person’s worth, ultimately that opinion is of no consequence. Your own opinion of your worth is of no consequence as well. To God every soul is highly valuable, and being that He is the owner and appraiser of all life, His is the only valuation that counts. In God’s eyes you and I are worth more than we could ever imagine, no matter what we’ve done with our lives. God loves you, big time!