How many of you have ever been to Texas? Specifically, have any of you ever been to San Antonio? Well in San Antonio there is this little market where traditional, homemade Mexican decor and items are sold at. When we would visit my grandparents in the summer my father used to always take us to this little market to look around. Well, in this one particular instance we went to the market to do some birthday shopping for my grandmother. I remember walking up to the front of the market and getting ready to walk in when my dad grabbed me by the arm and stopped me. He looked me straight in my eyes and said “do not touch anything.”
Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.” Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
So, what did I do? Well, I touched everything. I walked past cool toys and picked them up; hand-made blankets, picked them up; cool looking painted rocks, picked them up. All was going well, I didn’t quite understand why my dad didn’t want me to pick things up! Well eventually I made my way to the really cool looking things that I knew my grandmother would love, the vases!
I did really good for a while, only picking up the cheap small ones. However, this not so cheap one caught my eye. If I remember correctly it was a small mouthed, blue, double handled ceramic vase that was about as a big as a 1-gallon milk container. I remember picking it up, looking it over closely, trying to determine if this was the vase that I wanted to ask my dad to buy for my grandmother. I decided it was the one. I went to put it back on the shelf so that I could go and get my father, and as I turned back to walk towards him, I heard it.
I heard the sound of the vase crashing to the floor, shattering into 4 or 5 pieces, and then silence. The silence was quickly halted at the sound of a tiny old Mexican woman yelling at me in Spanish, followed by the yelling of my very angry father. Well, like they say, you break it you buy it. We ended up leaving the market with a newly broken, ceramic hand made, authentic Mexican style vase for only one-hundred and fifty dollars!
Let’s just say this was the last time we ever went to this market!
Have you ever thought about your value, how much you are worth? We live in a world where our worth and value is directly linked to how much money we have and what we do with it. Think about how many times you have desired to buy a bigger, fancier looking house or car. Most of the time we do this not because we need a bigger or fancier looking car or house, but because we believe it adds value to ourselves. Children who grow up in the south side of Chicago may look at themselves as having little to no value while children who grow up in Orange County, California may believe their value is above everyone else.
Actually, I want to talk more about those new cars I mentioned. Have any of you ever bought a brand new car before? I haven’t done that yet, and I’m not sure I ever will, but I can’t imagine that feeling. The feeling of sitting in this never before touched vehicle, turning it on and hearing the engine fire up. Messing with the settings on the console, adjusting the seat and mirrors. The feeling of preparing yourself for new adventures in this car, oh and also new debt! The feeling of being the first person to own and operate that vehicle, that feeling must be something fantastic. But, did you know that the brand new care you just bought for $30,000 has just lost it’s value?
Carfax.com says that as soon as someone drives their car off of the lot for the very first time it loses 10% of its value. Meaning if you bought that car for $30,000 and went down the street to another dealer they would buy it for no more than $27,000. And then after the first year of owning it the value has depreciated by another 10%. So now after a year of owning it you could get, maybe $24,000. The value of the car to the dealerships and to other buyers has depreciated.
We have assigned value to everything, that is why we have prices on items for sale. A new computer may cost you $600 while the same computer used may only cost $450. It lost value.
Did you know that we too have value. Not only do we have the value that we give to each other but we also have value that has been given to us by God!
This value is something that we look at all of the time, and it is something that we compare to our secular idea of value. Every time we sin we see ourselves as less valuable to God. Every time we break a rule or do something wrong we decide that our value has decreased like a used car. I’ve only been alive for twenty-four years and if I lost value to God every time I did something wrong or sinned, well, then I’d be worth absolutely nothing to God. But, that’s not how this works. We are not the car in today’s sermon, we are the broken vase.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
You see when I picked up that vase it was worth $150 to the woman who handmade it. And, when I dropped that vase on the floor it may have lost value to me or to my dad, but to that woman she still wanted her $150! God is like that with us, no matter how many times we have fallen from the shelf, picked up and thrown around, cracked, splintered or shattered, God still values us the same. He values us above all of his other creations, he values us above everything.
Everytime we fall to sin we
God has invested
So, that means that you will never lose value in the eyes of God. We are here to worship and praise our God, not other men. Why do we spend so much time on trying to impress other people and raise our social value when we have unending value to God? Why do we not forgive ourselves for our mistakes when our God so fervently does? It is time for us to stop assigning value to ourselves and others and start accepting the value that God has given us.
If we treated every person we met as though they were just as valuable to God as we are then we would not be living in this damaged world. We would be pushing people towards the worship and recognition of God, we would be directing them towards the truth with our actions and our words.
The problem that we all run in to is value. Is this person worth enough to me for me to be kind and help them? Is this person worth enough for me to invest an interest in them? These are never questions that God asks about us. He will never look upon us and say “you are not worth my love and grace.” If that were the case then he would not have sent his son to die on the cross for us. He would not have forgiven all of us for our wrong doings. He did so because our value to him was worth more than anything in existence.
I remember the first time I heard Louie Giglio speak. I was at the Creation Music Festival and he was the evening speaker. He said something that opened my eyes to my value to God. He said that if God were to manifest himself before us he would be able to walk up to each and every one of us there at Creation, all 75,000 fans and tell us our names. He would be able to tell us our life history, where we were going, and what we were doing. He would even be able to tell us the exact emotions we were having in that moment. But the most amazing thing Louie said was this “God would be able to walk up to each and every one of you, wrap his arms around you, and tell you that he loves you. No matter what you have done before, what you will do in the future, or even what you are doing right now, He would still love you.”
From that point on I have realized that my value to God is beyond comprehension, that God values each and every one of us more than we can begin to realize.
So, what I want you to do is realize that you are not worthless. Your value does not depreciate, you are not worth any less than anyone else, and your past and future sins do not make you worth less to God. Through it all God still loves you, he still cares for you, and he still values you!
Let us pray.