One and a half million (at least) Euros, or pounds, dollars…whatever…but bucket loads of money any way you consider it. That is your immediate answer when the life insurance salesman asks that thought provoking question in his quest to sell you a policy….”what do you think your life is worth?”
It would be a most naïve salesman indeed who’s eyes would actually light up with dollar signs at the thought of the sizeable commission he could receive upon such a sale, and not suspecting of course that your tongue is very firmly placed in cheek, because you know, and most salesmen would know full well that you cannot afford the $1000 or so dollars in weekly premiums such a policy would demand. Unless of course you are unlike the majority of us great unwashed, and your particular skill set demands a salary which allows you one or three luxuries. And for many, a life insurance policy of any value would be a luxury.
I was pondering this very question just last week-end as I was attending another funeral of one of my nearest and dearest, the fifth such occasion in the last 6 months. “What value human life?” Here in New Zealand the sentence handed down to the guilty for murder is called ‘life imprisonment’, but usually turns out on average to be about 17 years. Not many are too happy about that, believing a life lost to violence should be met with at least a genuine attempt at justice. Life is cheap here it seems. So how do you set a value on a human life?
Most people familiar with the internet are aware of the various online auction sites. I think each country has their own, here in NZ its called ‘Trade Me’. The value of any item offered for sale, whether at auction or normal retail, is ultimately set by whatever price is paid for it. I could put up a vehicle for auction and my hoped for sale price might be in the vicinity of $15,000. However, the final bid might only reach as high as $5000…if I were desperate, and didn’t set a reserve, I would have to accept that bid, thus setting the value of the vehicle. So with anything in life, the value of any item is set by what someone is willing to pay for it.
So what value life? What value would you set on your own life? Is it worth only the $10 a week you can afford for that $50,000 life policy you settled for? I will tell you emphatically no. Your life is worth infinitely more than any dollar value you could think of. The value of your life was set a long time ago, before even you were born. Before creation even. The apostle Peter tells us in his first epistle,
1 Peter 1:18-20; “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”
Peter is here telling us that our lives are worth far more than any monetary amount that could be offered for it. In this world the value of something is set by what is paid for it, but what is paid is set by what the buyer can or chooses to afford. But what if someone pays for something with everything he has? Even his own life? Jesus taught that greater love has no man than one who dies for another. (John 15:13) This is that kind of love that values someone else’s life of greater value than your own. The kind of love that says ‘the world is better off with you in it than with me’. Jesus was not one that didn’t practice what He preached. The apostle Paul in his letter to the Hebrews says:
Hebrews 2:9; “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man”.
John exclaims:” Behold! What manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…” 1John 3:1
The Son of God loves you to such an extent that He gave His own life in order to save yours. That places the value of your life on a par with God Himself. And that value is set by Him through what He Himself offered.
If we can accept this truth, and allow it to sink in, that your life, in God’s own estimation, is of infinite value such as His own, then friends, you can live the rest of your life with the attitude that you have nothing to prove. No need to feel insecure about what others think, better still, no need to feel insecure about what God thinks. Our performance, our possessions, our status in society, become irrelevant. This is what faith is all about. Belief in the all-encompassing unconditional love of God, who gave Himself for us on Calvary. In return we surrender our lives to Him, allowing Him to take full and rightful ownership of what He has purchased, and allow Him to work through us to share Him with the world. All that then matters is our sharing that very same love with others. For if your life is of such value, so is everyone else’s. That realization puts Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 25 into perspective.
Matt. 25:34-46 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink? And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me. And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.
These ideas also put into perspective the following:
Matt. 6:14,15; For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses.
Isn’t it wonderful that our Creator so identifies Himself with His own creation that not only did He become one of us, but becomes one with us in the person of our neighbours. We touch them, for good or evil, we touch God.
Mat 10:40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
Mat 18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me
No wonder that Jesus answered:
Mat 22:36-40 Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments the whole law hangeth, and the prophets.
What value life? Inestimable.