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The Worth of a Soul

You see some pretty curious things alongside the road while you’re driving, but most of the stuff that is tossed out of car windows or breaks off of old clunkers and tumbles to the side of the road is generally just junk.

I was thinking about that one day as we were picking up litter along a portion of the freeway near our church as part of the Adopt-A-Highway program. Plastic bottles, aluminum cans, paper cups and fast food bags, assorted trash, long strands of plastic sheeting, for the most part just worthless junk that’s been used up, cast aside, & discarded.

It seemed to me that the shoulders and median strips of our freeways make a pretty good analogy of life – I think there are a lot of people who feel a lot like that these days. Used up, cast aside & discarded. Without apparent value. And even if you don’t feel that way consciously, society sure does it’s best to try and make you feel that way: unwanted babies and children; people with illness or disability, the aged, the homeless, the out of work, the under-employed.

Where do we find our identity? How do we determine our worth? What is the worth of a person?

As we were working our way up the freeway, picking up all the aluminum cans, and hubcaps, and putting all the trash in large black bags for proper disposal, I spotted something interesting, and, reaching into the brush to retrieve it, I found an old piece-of-junk 3/8” Socket Wrench.

This old tool had seen better days, it was scratched, and weather-beaten, you could tell that it had spent the better part of its life underneath the hood of a car doing what it was made to do. But now, somehow, it wound up here, left for dead, being overtaken by rust and the elements, slowly being covered over by new growth and sludge.

As I inspected the old tool, rubbing the dirt and grime away from its head, I found that the ratchet mechanism still worked pretty good in both directions, which surprised me. Then, just before I tossed the old tool in the garbage sack, I cleaned off the shaft with the bottom of my tee-shirt, and underneath the thin coating of gunk and rust, I was able to read the brand name, engraved on the side.

And it was then that my entire perspective of the old tool changed. Because the word etched into the steel on the side of the little ratchet wrench, was—CRAFTSMAN.

Now, when a man sees the word Craftsman, he immediately feels a little primal sense of strength and manliness— because Craftsman is a manly-man tool. They’re so tough that if one ever breaks you can get a replacement at no cost.

I thought, “Hey, this isn’t some worthless old rachet wrench—it’s a CRAFTSMAN!”

The worth of the tool wasn’t found in its location, tossed out on the side of the freeway, and it wasn’t found in its condition—rusty, dirty, cold and about worn out. The worth of the tool was found in the name engraved upon it.

There’s an interesting passage in the Bible that suggests this same thing about people, specifically the unwanted and those without apparent value:

And my blessings are for Gentiles, too, when they commit themselves to the Lord. Do not let them think that I consider them second-class citizens. And my blessings are also for the eunuchs. They are as much mine as anyone else. For I say this to the eunuchs who keep my Sabbath days holy, who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me: I will give them – in my house, within my walls – a memorial and a name far greater than the honor they would have received by having sons and daughters. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear! Isaiah 56:3-5 NLV

Now the Gentiles, of course, were the other guys, the non-Jewish. These were not God’s chosen people, they were from the heathen nations, they were the scum, the dogs. And the Eunuchs were the emasculated males who would never know the pleasure of a wife and family, they were destined for lives of envy and emptiness.

It is to these two groups that God says: “My blessings are for you. You are as much mine as anyone else. I will give [you] – in my house, within my walls – a memorial and a name… and everlasting name that will never disappear!”

The worth of a person isn’t found in their celebrity, their value isn’t found in their bank account, or if they can read or whether or not they can even get out of bed in the morning. The worth of a person is found in the name written invisibly upon their life. It is the name of God, inscribed on every soul, giving every person, from conception to their final breath, immeasurable value and priceless worth.

All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write my God’s name on them, and they will be citizens in the city of my God – the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And they will have my new name inscribed upon them. Revelation 3:12 NLT


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