What gives value to life?

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Job 6:11-14 What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass? Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me? To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.

We live in a society that is mostly made up of takers. People who feel as if they deserve to be served-where services and bonuses are a right that should be given regardless of productivity. These people, if personally capable of work, are a drain on society and a drag on future generations. The American spirit of hard work and independence is what originally made us great – and will continue to do so while we exalt character above cushion. This holds true for any society that wants to thrive! We should teach our children to be GIVERS and not TAKERS – exalting the supplier and shaming the spoiled brat. This is the ideal!

To the degree a person is able to selflessly give – of themselves, their treasures or their talents – will determine their value. Jesus said clearly, It is more blessed to give than to receive. However, does this mean that one who does not contribute should automatically be categorized as a bane to society? There exists a segment in every society that simply cannot contribute to the good of the whole. They are either born without certain capabilities, or circumstances have rendered them unproductive. Are they any LESS of a person or any LESS of value? The same God that told us to give without expecting anything in return, also said, Those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. (I Cor. 12:33). Is God taking both sides of the argument? No, God is simply saying we should be givers – with character, independence, and selflessness- but if we are helpless and find ourselves to be receivers (less honorable) then we can rejoice in that situation as well! Our worth IS found in our productivity –because we are using what God has given to us to His honor and glory.

However, when we are not productive, and, yea, seem to be in a perpetual state of need, we are still valuable because we are still using what God has given to us (our need) for His honor and glory! This is very difficult for the independent Christian to grasp. Especially someone who is used to giving and not receiving. Job was perplexed by this same type of situation, and it greatly discouraged him. He was looking at the disasters that happened in his life and the loss of reputation that came with it (the opinion of the friends bears this out), that he said, Job 6:11 What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? It seems as if he was saying, I have nothing, I can be nothing, and there is no future for me. The remaining years of my life are years of tremendous suffering and need. I will not be able to contribute to society – I am reduced to a taker and am no longer a giver.

Job saw no value for him in being the taker. It was anathema to him to be in a perpetual state of need. He cried out, I wish I had been aborted! Job 3:2-3 And Job spake, and said, Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Job 3:11 Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? Lest we be too hard on Job, he is simply repeating the modern day argument that tries to justify the murder of the unborn AS WELL AS the rush to cut off end of life care. The reasoning is that if you are not a contributor to society, if you do not have the faculties to give help, if you cease to be productive, and your life is now or in the future would be filled with suffering, it would somehow be better for your life to cease, because it has ceased to have value. The quality of your life and the productivity of your life ultimately determines your value.

While it is true that society is built on the backs of the unselfish givers, it is also true that the great lessons of life taught to society are taught by the quiet, long suffering of its most needy citizens. It is very difficult to understand how society could be bettered by the lives of the infirm, handicap or the extreme elderly. When Alzheimer’s has robbed the personality from a grandparent leaving just the shell, it would be easy for us to conclude that it would be better for everyone to “mercifully” end their life.

When a baby is expected into a poor home, which already has too many mouths to feed, AND that baby is discovered with a debilitating illness – the great minds conclude that it would be best for that child to have never been born. Again, this exalts the view that nothing of value can come from suffering, that we have nothing to learn about ourselves or about our life here on earth from these dear souls, and that these people could never be used of the Lord. The truth is that some of the greatest sermons, the most inspiring stories, and the wisest counsellors are the “weak members” of society showing grace under pressure and allowing us the PRIVILEGE of serving them.

If it were that God has enabled us to be GIVERS – let us rejoice in that and use it to the best of our ability. If the time comes where cancer, an accident, or simply life dictates that we become TAKERS – let us bow to this trial and shine to His glory in this also! These are very painful situations, that are charged with great emotion. Yet in this journey of life we need to remember – ALL life has value!

Devotional submitted by:
Pastor Jason Brenenstuhl, Wyldewood Baptist Church

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