We can become quite distracted by our desire for certain things we hold dear for one reason or another. Different cultures and families tend to value certain things at different times.
Think about growing up. As a child you desired food or toys or ability to feel important or valued. In youth you may have focused on competing with others, your appearance, getting ahead in life or achieving academically or romantically.
Once married your desires may focus on getting ahead in life, or family, plus the new car, house, gadgets and pleasures of young adult life. With a growing family your desires may focus more on family needs, solving problems among children, and so on.
With each new season there are new things to be distracted with.
In the West we can have materialistic desires and first world problems, unknown in places where the road is a goat track and the hut holds no luxuries at all.
Each of us finds value in the things we are currently distracted with, based on our age, culture, upbringing, and so on.
With that as background, let’s ask what is ‘true value’.
Is the new car really a matter of true value? Is getting a higher test score than others really true value?
Is true value in the food you eat and the home you live in? Is true value in buying the latest technology? Is true value in diagnosing the physical ailment you struggle with in old age?
Does your family need more gadgets or more time with you, or better education, or a bigger house, or ??
I had a quick impression many years ago of two images that contrasted each other. The first fleeting impression was of a beggar boy standing in rags on a pile of rubbish. The boy’s bare feet and legs were spattered with dry mud.
I understood that this lad, having nothing of this world’s goods, had faith in Christ, probably through some Christian outreach to slum dwellers.
The image was immediately replaced by the face of a man I knew from Australian history. He was a strong political figure, highly educated, enjoying high office in the international arena, and he mocked God.
As soon as these impressions flashed through my mind I felt a question inside me. “Which of these do you want your children and grand-children to be?”
Obviously none of us wants our children to be paupers and live with empty stomachs and a miserable human existence, but of the two options I had no hesitation choosing my descendants to live impoverished lives on earth then enjoying eternal blessings in God’s presence, than to be hailed and applauded on earth, living a high life, then spending eternity in hell.
“What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? What can a man give to buy back his soul?” Matthew 16:26
God has no problem seeing people blessed. He gives rain and sunshine on everyone, including evil people. God is generous and pours out an abundance over and over again. I am not in any way suggesting that being blessed is evil.
My question goes to where you place your sense of value. Are you pursuing true value?
Jesus promised that if we seek His Kingdom we will be provided with all the other things we need anyway.
“Take no thought for what you will eat or drink of how you’ll be clothed, for your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. But seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be provided to you.” Matthew 6:31-33
Realise that chasing the wrong things doesn’t lead to good outcomes. Be warned by what happened to the Israelites in the wilderness.
“They lusted exceedingly in the wilderness and tempted God in the desert. And God gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:14,15
They got what they were hankering for, but they lost out on the deal.
Here’s another unhappy example. King Hezekiah was told by the prophet Isaiah he was going to die. Hezekiah pleaded with God to have his life spared. Isaiah was told by God to go back and tell the king he would have an additional 15 years of life.
Happy outcome? Maybe not. Twelve years later Hezekiah had a son, Manassah who turned out to be the wickedest king in Israel’s history. See Isaiah 38 and 2Kings 20,21.
It could be argued that Hezekiah and Israel would have been better off if Hezekiah had accepted his lot and died when God said he would.
God wants you to have true value in your life and all you turn your hand to.
I urge you to keep before the Lord the question of what is true value in your life and situation, for yourself, your family and the Kingdom of God.
Don’t spend your life on that which is of no true value.
“Why do you spend money for that which is not bread and your labour for things that don’t satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in good things.” Isaiah 55:2