A few years ago I was in Tallahassee for a speaking engagement, and, while there, I was invited on a canoeing trip down the Wacissa River with a local youth group. The Wacissa is formed by several underground springs and is known for its crystal clear water. In fact, it is a popular location for scuba diving enthusiasts because of one’s ability to explore underwater caves without the impediment of murky water. On this particular occasion, my group traveled down to a popular swimming hole where we spent a few hours before making our way back to land. As I waded back to the canoes, I felt something happen that caused me to stop and stand frozen in my tracks. Within just a few feet of the canoe, my wedding ring gently slid off of my finger and settled on the river bed. Those of us who were present immediately entered search and rescue mode as we peered through the clear water searching the rocky bottom for any sign of the ring. Approximately fifteen minutes later, thanks to the clarity of the water and the removal of a large rock, we saw the faint glimmer of metal and my wedding ring was returned to its rightful place.
My wedding ring is a very simple, metallic band. I purchased it for less than one hundred dollars back in 2004. Since then, it has been banged, nicked, and scratched a countless number of times. As a result, my wedding band has very little financial value, and replacing it would not be costly. However, as I searched for that inexpensive band, one thought repeatedly flowed through my mind—this was the ring that my wife put on my finger when we were married. Although I could purchase a new ring, I could not replace the moment that my wife slipped that ring onto my finger. To the world, this ring possessed no value, but to me, this ring was priceless.
The same can be said for you. Sometimes the world views us as worthless, unimportant, or useless. Sometimes we are walked on, talked about, embarrassed, scorned, and rejected. However, no matter what value the world assigns to us, we know for certain that we are valuable to God. How do we know this?
We know that we are valuable to God because He created us. According to Genesis 1:26, 31, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” Thus, as God completed creation, He decided to create an image bearer, a creature that would possess His likeness on the earth. No other creature in all of creation can lay claim to the image of God; therefore, we are valuable to God because He uniquely created us in His image.
We know that we are valuable to God because He loves us. The most familiar verse in all of the Bible is probably John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This passage does not say that God so loved the Christians, that God so loved the church, or that God so loved those who obey Him. This passage says that God so loved the world. In other words, John 3:16 tells us that God’s love was and is extended to everyone who falls under His jurisdiction. That includes those who disobey Him, those who mock Him, those who oppose Him, those who reject Him, and those who hate Him. As a result, God’s love is not based on some external source. God does not love because of what others have done for Him. God’s love is not earned or bought. God’s love is the result of God’s own nature because “God is love” (1 John 4:8). That is why Paul could boldly claim in Romans 8:27-39 that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God’s love is unchanging. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you any less than He does right now, nor is there anything you can do to make Him love you any more than He does right now because God’s love for you is perfect. And because He loves you, you are valuable to Him.
We know that we are valuable to God because He chose us. For the record, the previous two observations about our value to God apply to all of mankind while this final observation applies to those who are “in Christ.” Scripture asserts that those who are “in Christ” have been chosen by Him. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:3 that God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing,” and the very first blessing he identified was our chosen status. He said that God “chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4). In other words, God has identified and selected a group of people to represent Him, to be in fellowship with Him, and to be the recipients of His blessings. In the Old Testament, that group of people was the Israelites as evidenced by Moses’s declaration to the nation of Israel that “The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6). In the New Testament, that group of people is the church as evidenced by Peter’s use of language similar to Moses when he referred to the church as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). Here is the point: being chosen is a big deal. Being chosen is the result of a deliberate decision, not the result of an accidental discovery or a chance happening. Being chosen is the result of somebody intentionally setting their affection on you. As a result, being chosen is an indication that you are wanted by someone. Therefore, as one who is “in Christ,” you have been chosen by God, and that makes you valuable to Him.
Just like my wedding ring, the world may not view you as a valuable asset, but inherent within you is a value that no one can take away because it was placed on you by God. To God, you are and forever will be priceless.