What price would you pay?

4/7/2013

   Determining the value of something is most often an inexact science.
    A board game, a storage unit, even life itself: how do you measure real worth?
    I checked the online powerbroker eBay recently to see if I could find my favorite childhood board game, which featured a team of baseball all-stars battling the New York Yankees. When it hit the shelves in the mid-1960s, “Challenge the Yankees” retailed for $3. I figured I might be able to buy it all these years later for $20-$30.
      Sure enough, the game was available on eBay. But $30 was not quite enough for a near-mint copy. The simple dice game, featuring a cardboard ballfield and individual player cards, carried a jaw-dropping pricetag of $4,000.
     Apparently each player card is now considered a collectible, like other vintage baseball cards. But I was not interested in making an investment in a potential museum piece to be put into hermetically-sealed storage. I just wanted to play a simple kid’s game again, to roll the dice and move the little plastic pegs from one base to another.
     I passed on the purchase. My fading memories will have to suffice.
    There seems to be a glut of television shows now that are centered around determining the value of a wide gamut of items, including pawn shop trinkets, the contents of abandoned storage units, and rusted gasoline signs picked out of an old barn.
     Is that abandoned storage unit, crammed with unmarked boxes, worth $1,100 or $3,100? Indeed, one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure.
      In simplest terms, the value of an item is determined by the price someone is willing to pay for it.
     But how do we measure the value of life? Unfortunately, all too often the answer is not very much.
     Recently, two teenagers in Brunswick were accused in the fatal shooting of a baby, who was sleeping in a stroller. Reportedly, the teens were seeking to rob the baby’s young mother, who was taking her baby for a walk. The teens demanded money. She said she did not have any. After shooting the mother in her leg, one of the teens allegedly aimed his gun at the baby’s head and pulled the trigger.
We can only wonder, what if the mom had $50 when she left the house that day? Would it have been enough to satisfy the alleged robbers? How about $25? $15? Is it possible that this death could have been averted for the price of a movie ticket?
     It is almost inconceivable to realize how cheap human life can be.
    But as followers of Christ, we know that he went to the cross to “give his life as a ransom for many,” (Mark 10:45). If, indeed, the value of an item is determined by the price someone is willing to pay for it, then Christ revealed our true value by what he was willing to do for us.
     We often quibble over the value of one item over another, or even the value of our own lives. It is humbling and almost inconceivable to realize how much we are loved by God and how much he values us. But in times like this, it certainly is comforting.
Glenn Hannigan is editor of the North Georgia Advocate. To contact him email: advocate@ngumc.org 


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