What we value illuminates what we find important. Consider people who are serious automobile enthusiasts. Their cars are immaculate. They sacrifice hours upon daily hours in making sure that the paint job on them is perfect, or that a particular vehicle is washed impeccably, or that it shines on a display pedestal for everyone to see. Not only can one say that enthusiasts value their cars, one could even say they love their cars. This is because they are committed to the care of those cars. I’ve even seen grown men and women caress a lifeless, but beautiful, piece of steel as if it were a pet or a lover. You know a person’s values not by what he or she says they are, but by how they live their lives. Things that are important to a person demonstrate that person’s values. The more a person values something, the more he will sacrifice for, and enjoy, those things he values — just like the car enthusiast.
If a person says he values honesty, but cheats on his taxes, then he is not honest. If a woman says she values modern art, but lets her children use her original Picasso as a play table, then she values her children’s playspace more than she values modern art. If a family says they value Jesus, but refuse to live in community with his people, then they don’t value Jesus. And when people say they value love, but don’t commit to the wellbeing of those closest to them, then they either do not value love, or they do not value the people closest to them. This is a problem. The bible tells us how in the end times that the love of many shall grow cold (Matthew 24:12), and that this will have terrible social and cultural consequences (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
As a matter of interpersonal relationships, the apostle Paul placed the virtue (and the value) of love very high. In fact, he placed it above both faith and hope (1 Corinthians 13:13). This is because to love someone is to value them. Paul wanted the body of Christ to grow at every level, and he knew that valuing love meant valuing others. He knew that for a community, or a family, or a friendship, or a marriage to function optimally, it would require a value for the people in those relationships. Such a commitment means attending daily to the needs of the people that you say you love. It means attending to the physical needs, the emotional needs, the spiritual needs, and any other needs required for a person or a group to achieve and sustain true wellness.
How might someone measure your value for others? In what spiritual, emotional and physical ways do you display value for your loved ones?