The value we place on possessions is a reflection of our life experiences. I value a nice pair of basketball shoes much more than I do, say, a nice pair of ice skates. There’s nothing wrong with ice skates or ice skating, but in my past I have put much more worth –both mentally and monetarily –in what I wear on the court as opposed to what I wear on the ice. Someone with a hockey or figure skating background might have it flipped –new skates over new LeBron’s. It’s this reason why we are able to rationalize certain purchases over others, and why we can have a “favorite” of something even though there are other options available.
Of course, this goes past just buying things. We put value into what we pursue in life. The pursuits and goals we value are the things that are the easiest things for us to buy into. As an elementary education major who is set to student teach next spring, my motivation for doing well in my classes is much different now than when I was taking generals at a community college and had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I value my education more now than before, and as a result I am willing to make sacrifices such as sleep (sorry, Mom) and hangout time with friends so that I can continue to get good grades. Decisions like these are almost second-nature to make, because they line up with what we value.
We sacrifice and make changes for what we value. We move, rearrange, eliminate and add to our life so that they line up with the things that we hold as more important than others. How much do you value Netflix? Well, that depends on whether or not Netflix is more important than homework or beings social. If Netflix is something that has high value to your life, it will be easier to cut other things out so that you get enough Netflix in each day. What about school? I think we all can say school is pretty important. But how important? Is it important enough for you to sacrifice time with friends? What about your personal health, such as how much sleep you’re getting or your stress levels? Is school more valuable than your time with God?
That’s another thing: we can value good things but pursue them the wrong way. School should be valued by all of us, but we can pursue academic success the wrong way by making unnecessary sacrifices to compensate for our need to do well in school. Making friends is something we all want to. But when you start changing your morals and saying “OK” to things that you would have never allowed in your life, it becomes a potentially dangerous pursuit. Rapper Lecrae summed it up perfectly in his autobiography Unashamed: “if you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.” Being liked by others is not a bad thing to value until it is pursued the wrong way and valued over things that it shouldn’t be valued over. It feels good for a while always having people to hang out with, always being social, always being the life of the party or group. Eventually, though, that “feel good” feeling runs dry and is replaced by emptiness and loneliness. You’ll start thinking things like “why do I feel so lonely when so many people like me and like being around me?”
Jesus addresses this very issue towards the end of Matthew chapter 6. While giving a sermon, Jesus gives the crowd an almost impossible command in verse 25: “do not worry about your life”. Basically, Jesus is telling the crowd –and us –to not have anxiety over anything. Reading that verse gives me anxiety! I can think of ten things off the top of my head that warrant me worrying over. They aren’t bad things, but if I’m not careful I will pursue them in a way that does not add value to my life. Later on in the chapter, Jesus reminds us that God understands that we need these things in our life. He also challenges us in verse 33: “But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” When we value God first in our life before everything else, He takes care of the other things that we value. Anything put before God –even good things –becomes meaningless and actually worthless. There’s no thing or person that exists that is able to give you or I fulfillment and satisfaction the way God does. That’s why it’s so critical for us to value Him first. When we don’t, we feel empty and lonely as we pursue valueless pursuits.
This Friday, we are having our Valued Event, for both guys and girls. I would highly recommend that if you’re reading this, you make the effort to attend. We all have questions about what our value is and the things that we value, and hearing from two WSU Chi Alpha alumni –Sarah Thewis and Eric Kuhn –it will be a great place to have these questions answered. I hope you find the time to make it this Friday; it’s going to be a great time for both the guys and the ladies! And remember: You Are Valued.
WSU Chi Alpha Senior