"If you don't know the value of a thing, you will abuse a thing." Christine Caine, A21, Hillsong Colour Your World Conference
Of all the information gleaned at the Conference, these are the words that have resonated with me most. While Caine was talking about the devaluation of women and children in relation to human trafficking, it applies to everything. I fear we've become disconnected from the value of those things we are meant to cherish and honour and nurture: the environment, material things, work, marriage, children and childhood, ageing, family, food, our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our lives... our humanity.
For Christians, it's the devaluation of God's sovereignty, laws and grace, the meaning of Christ's intervention and the role of the church and its traditions (Lent, anyone?). And as the value of these things has diminished, we have looked to things to fill the value gaps – new relationships, better jobs, more stuff, more money, different churches, idols to follow – or to appease our guilt (Earth Day!). We let things slide. We lose perspective. We misappropriate. We take advantage. We lay blame on others. We lay hate on others. We grow distant, cynical, hopeless. Life loses its meaning.
BUT... when I acknowledge God as the creator of everything, I attribute reverence, care and value to everything.
I value my marriage and my partner and I take care of them; I don't take time for granted; I value my body and I take care of it; I value my mind and nurture it; I turn away from those things that diminish my God-given spirit; I spend within the means He's given me; I give with the means He's given me; I see the value in His blessings; I respect my parents; I give attention to, appreciate, love and help others; I delight in nature; I acknowledge the little things; I see food as His provision for nourishment and a shared pleasure; I thank him for work, any work, and honour it; I thank Him for lessons learned; I treat the environment with respect; I share, I care, I save; I use my gifts to His advantage; I recognise everyone's different; I acknowledge wisdom, peace, joy and a sound mind – his 'perfect ideals' come only from Him... and I get my security, love and hope from Him.
And when I lose sight of these things, when I abuse these things by being careless, selfish or ungrateful, it breaks His heart. But when I acknowledge Him in ALL things, and act accordingly, He honours that. What you value is what you nurture. And He values ALL of us.
For this is the way God loved the world: he gave his one and only Son that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in Him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
Girl With a Satchel