Too Valuable to Throw Away


Psalm 119:50 “Your promise preserves my life.”

As an occasional “shade-tree” mechanic, I know how frustrating it can be to work on cars. Sometimes even simple things like changing oil can raise your blood pressure if the oil filter is hard to reach or screwed on too tight to remove.

Car troubles can make you frustrated and angry. Maybe you would even like to get rid of the vehicle. But I would never actually consider blowing it up or tearing the engine to pieces just because it gave me trouble. My car is too valuable for that.

Do we value human life so much? Some children aren’t wanted by their parents. Some elderly people become hard to care for as their strength fails.  Killing them seems like a strange solution to their problems.  We fix the car.  Shouldn’t we at least try to do the same for people?

Society’s cavalier attitude toward human life is not something new. Almost 1800 years ago a Greek historian wrote about the Jews: “The Jews are a strange people. They raise all their children.” The attitude of the Jews toward the value of their children’s lives stood in stark contrast to the Greeks and Romans, who took their unwanted babies to the town dump and left them there to be eaten by wild animals or collected by slave traders.

The list of things people value more than human life is endless: personal freedom, expensive tennis shoes, someone else’s car or jewelry, a neighboring country’s land or oil wells, the affection of someone else’s spouse, even our own wounded pride. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that the car gets better treatment.

God’s word places a different value on human life. Nothing we have on earth can compare to a single life. “The ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough,” the psalmist tells us (49:8).

God values each one of us so much that he paid the ultimate price to take possession of our lives. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Of course the day comes when the car can’t be fixed anymore. There is nothing to do but haul it to the junkyard.

The same thing happens to our earthly existence. The time comes when these broken bodies can’t be fixed anymore. But we are not the ones who determine that time. God reserves the right to decide when that day has come. We confess with king David, “My times are in your hands” (Psalm 31:15).

And our Lord doesn’t just haul us off to the junkyard.  Because he values us so much he “brings us safely to his heavenly kingdom” (I Timothy 4:18). Things get better, not worse, when our heavenly Father hauls us home.

Life is God’s gift. He not only first gave it. He redeems it, and he protects it until he has us safe with him.

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