money-trash1Things got a little weird that day at the Taco Bell in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  A customer tried to pass two 1928 five-dollar bills as cash to pay for his meal.  The clerks had never seen such old money before, presumed it to be counterfeit, and called the police.  Here’s the sad part – as currency, the cash was legit.  As collectors’ items, they had to be worth way more than a bean burrito combo or a chalupa.

What a waste, right?  Right up there with Esau, selling his birthright for a bowl of peas. Or the prodigal son, wasting his inheritance on a never-ending party.

But another part of my brain wants to defend our fast food shopper.  After all, maybe he was hungry, and that was the only cash he had.  Maybe he had no idea what he had!  I’ve learned that if you don’t know the value of what you possess, it really doesn’t matter to you what you waste it on. Esau and the prodigal learned that, too – the hard way.

Anyway, what’s so different about the taco king?  Every day life presents a cornucopia of possibilities, opportunities, and choices.  All of them demand our allegiance, and ask to be a priority.  With all that’s possible, all that’s bad, all that’s good, and the little that’s best, how do we keep from squandering the most valuable pieces of our lives?  How do we maximize our return – taking advantage of the Law of Increase in order to “make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5, NIV)?  In a world of multiple-choice-gone-crazy, how do we choose well?  By discerning the time and choosing the most worthwhile.

Change Your Destiny by Changing Your Values

“Is that all there is?”

Not only has that become a common question in reference to a host of things, but it’s a rhetorical question that Jesus himself asked to a group of people who worried and fretted about their “stuff.”  In the process, Jesus gave some hints about how you and I can find real value in our decisions and priorities.

Real value revolves around five principles:

1.  Security.

“Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves” (Mattew 6:20, NLT).  Real value is found in things that neither time nor thieves can take away.  In determining the value of a possession, a commitment, a relationship, look at it in light of the long run.

Value Question:  Will it last?  Does it have staying power?

2.  Service.

Why did Jesus say that you can’t serve two masters – particularly God and money? Because real value is found in what you’re serving, and what’s serving you.  Because I value my children, I serve them.  What’s more, I let them serve me in ways I don’t necessarily allow others to do.  It’s an expression of value.  You serve what matters to you.  If you want different results, change who or what you’re serving.

Value Question:  Who or what do I want to serve, or have serving me?

3.  Self.

“There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body…. And you count far more to him than birds” (Matthew 6:25-26, The Message).  Real value starts with realizing your worth to God.  That’s the only way you can be free from worry and anxiety.  It’s also the only way you’ll have the courage to make changes in your life.

Value Question:  If I really believed that God sees me as priceless,what would I pursue with my life?

4.  Source.

“What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving” (Matthew 6:31, The Message). The source of the benefit determines its value.   That’s why I value a gift from my wife more than one from a stranger.  So is it possible to position yourself in such a way that you are receiving directly from God?  Yes.  More on that later.

Value Question:  How can I position myself to receive from God as my primary source?

5.  Society.

“The Gentiles eagerly seek all these things,” Jesus said (Matthew 6:32).  Translation:  This stuff is cheap.  Common.  Everybody’s chasing it.  Real value is found in rarity – in this case, how distinct you are from what the lemmings are doing.  It’s a principle that rings true in the stock market and in your mother’s advice:  If everybody’s doing it, perhaps you should question it.

Value Question:   How exceptional is this?

Central to all Jesus said is this core principle:  You can change your destiny and your results by changing your values.  If you aren’t satisfied with where you are, or where you’re going, you’re going to have to change what is important to you.

So have you been trading in your gold and diamonds for a bit of fast food or instant pleasure lately?  Selling your birthright for short-term satisfaction?  Wise up!  It’s time for a little value investing.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mattie June 20, 2009 at 8:40 am

Andy, I would do well to remember all 5 of these points on a daily, nay, minute by minute basis! How much do we waste (especially spiritually) on things that do not profit at all? And this one really got me:

“If I really believed that God sees me as priceless,what would I pursue with my life?”

Good stuff.

Matties last blog post..New Digs

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