What Are You Worth?

If your house was on fire and all your pets and loved ones were safe, but you could save one thing, what would it be?

Your mum’s engagement ring? A sheaf of old love letters? A favourite book or film? Photographs?

If it was me, I wouldn’t have to think twice. Past the photos in the hall, up the stairs and into the bedroom, up on a chair, back of the wardrobe – et voila.


Once a glossy, cuddly stuffed toy, now more of a hairy soap-on-a-rope. But nonetheless, one of the most valuable things I own. A battered repository for all kinds of memories and emotions and people – not least my beloved gran, who gave her to me on the day of my brother’s birth.

I remember the day well. Partly because, in all of the newbornbabyfurore, dad and I had been pacing the streets, waiting for mum to come home. In his haste to get back, he managed to walk me into a tree and, (rightly) fearful of Granny’s ire, I was smuggled back, head bloodied, but grinning from ear to ear, cheeks stuffed full of toffees and conveniently unable to speak. (Incidentally, dad then repeated the damage twenty years later on my wedding day, when, blinded by flashbulbs, he closed the wedding car door on my face. We’ve got him on video posing for the cameras, before racing back to the car and shamefacedly mumbling, ‘I’d forgotten she was in there’).

Post Treegate, my abiding memory of the day is not so much my brother (sorry Michael), but instead the cuddly cat who became my companion and confidante, long after other playthings had been confidently retired. Man, I love that cat. When I was eight and went into hospital, the surgeon took out her old whiskers and sewed in new ones. When I went on my first school trip without mum and dad, she was the reassuring constant amidst a flurry of foreign tongues and landscapes. When the love of my life dumped me, it was in her furry arms that I found solace, hot tears spilling onto the stripy catcardigan that still smelled of home. We’ve been through a lot. And though she’s not the chattiest of felines, she was – and is, a great listener.

In material terms however, Ali-Cat doesn’t really cut the mustard. If I was to put her on ebay, she’d undoubtably make a loss. One of her ears is damaged, her eyes are loose, she’s crusty and dusty and she smells of soup. In herself, she’s worth very little. But to me, she’s priceless. She’s worth everything I have. And that’s not because of her great social skills, her stunning good looks or her capacity for cocktails and karaoke. It’s just because I love her.

Does this remind you of anyone? (I should have had a career in local radio – the links are flawless..)

In Deuteronomy 7, when the Lord is leading the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, here’s what he tells the people;

The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Jesus redeems us, not because we deserve it or because of anything we can do to make Him like us.  Not because he’s lonely, or needs us in some way to complete Him.  He is already in the most perfect relationhip that has ever existed.  Instead He does it because He is Love – and that love overflows from the Father, Son and Spirit onto us. This love is real and solid – not an abstract attribute, nor a wishy-washy sentiment.  It’s a God with his arms nailed open.

What does that mean for who we are and how we live and relate  to the world? As the Christianity Explored course reminds us, ‘there’s nothing we can do to make Him love us any more and there’s nothing we can do to make Him love us any less’. This means that I’m not bound by a relentless system of works to prove myself worthy of Him. Jesus has done that for me. So every time that little voice (and sometimes foghorn) tells me that I’m rubbish and not good enough and I don’t deserve the name Christian and this time I’ve blown it … I can refute it, with the full weight of the Lord of the universe behind me.

I am worth something. I’m worth the price of His son Christ. And in Him, I’m as perfect and beautiful and spotless as I can ever be. I’m priceless. And so are you. So stomp on those lies.

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