I was in Starbuck several weeks ago and a group of about 6 -8 high school kids were sitting a table next to me discussing a paper they had to write for school. They were talking about abortion and when does life begin and the death penalty and was it right to put someone to death if they committed murder and whether one person’s life was more valuable than another person. Well being a minister and all, I thought I would offer some assistance. I asked if they had ever heard the phrase, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and they said that they had. I suggested to them that fair or not, “the value of life is also in the eye of the beholder”.
So today I want to talk briefly about ‘The Value of Life”.
Life is relative - it means something different to all of us, we all have different ambitions in life and we want different things out of life but life has no meaning or value beyond that which we individually or collectively give it”. From a societal stand point, life is defined by the ethical, political and/or economic value assigned to it by the culture in which it exists.
One of the major problems of society in India is the inferior “life value” accorded to women. They were not considered equal to men and they do not enjoy the same rights and privileges as men. The role of women is conceived to be one of subservience to her husband, the master and ruler of the family. Indian culture is improving dramatically but women still do not enjoy equal status and their social condition is far from satisfactory.
Value is the worth that we assign to a person, place or thing. It is the perceived importance or usefulness we believe something may or may not have “to us”. And notice I said “to us” because “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.
When something as no value to us, we that it is “worthless” but when something has a great deal of value to us, we say that it is priceless. There was an AMX commercial several years ago about a father taking his son to a baseball game. And the commercial said, “the cost of two tickets = $300.00, the cost of two hot dogs = $50.00 but experience of being at the game with your best friend was “priceless”.
In western culture, human life is valued from two basic prospective: a Quantitative prospective and a Qualitative prospective.
The “qualitative” value of life looks at our personal satisfaction with life, our health, happiness and well being more than the accumulation of wealth. We believe that a healthy lifestyle can lead to a better “quality of life”. But the phrase, "quality of life" is subjective and multidimensional. It encompasses both the positive and negative aspects of life. It is a dynamic condition that responds to life events: a job loss, illness, divorce or other unknown circumstances can change one's definition of the "quality of life" quickly and dramatically.
The “quantitative” value of life is most often associated with money and material possessions. It’s easy to assume that if I have more money than you, my life is more valuable than yours. Financial planners use “human life value” as a way of determining how much life insurance an individual may need. A person's income, financial assets, family obligations, years remaining in the workplace, medical and final expenses, years remaining in the workplace, as well as the depreciating value of the dollar to determine a person’s “human life value” .Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance plans put a value on the loss of body parts; arms, legs, hands, feet and eyes are all assigned monetary value.
As long as we look at life from a “quantitative” prospective, life will never have “real, meaningful” value, it will only have economic value. Whether qualitative or quantitative, we still determine the value of something by what it means “to us” and unfortunately, “human life in our society has lost its value”. There is a sickness in the world today, a sickness that regards or disregards human life as a cheap commodity.
The overall level of violence in this country has reached epidemic proportions. Bank heist, robberies, home break-ins, car jackings, personal assaults have multiplied in recent years. We see or hear in the news everyday of how life as lost its value. Deadly mass shootings have become common place and shamefully accepted as a normal way of life. Think about places like the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, FL., Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, NV., Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas and least we not forget the 2015 Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. But just last week four (4) young African American were shot and killed in a Waffle House outside of Nashville, TN. I often ask myself if this madness will ever end but the sad truth is that it will get much worse before it ever gets better.
We seem to have forgotten who created life!!! The Bible says in Gen, 2:7 that “God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul”. God created life and life is sacred to Him. Man has no right to take his own life or destroy the life of another. Christ said “I come that you may life and that you may have it more abundantly”- Jn. 10: 9-15.
Christ came not to take life but to give life… He came to give new meaning to life, to add value to life and to give us a “qualitatively better” life. Christ can to reverse the curse of sin and to redeem us with outstretched arms. We can receive this new life, the life that God has prepared for us when we accept Christ as our Lord and trust Him as our Savior. When we seek to establish a personal relationship with God and accept Christ forgiveness for our sins, we find and fulfill the highest purpose for which we were created, which is “abundant life”.
Christ death on the cross illustrates how valuable our lives are to Him and it should show us also how much our salvation means to God. But Christ death, His burial and His resurrection will have no value, it will have no meaning, it will profit us nothing, if we do not believe. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believes in him shall have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).
God created a new life for us, a “qualitatively” different life that has more value to than we will ever know in this life and that life is called, “eternal life”. Until we learn to value life as God values life, our lives will have no earthly significance and we will have no hope of an eternal existence with God.