We’ve heard it said that nothing is free. That even time is money. If you want something, there’s a price to pay. And in our daily grind, we deal with a plethora of prices of the various kinds.
How much does this milk cost? Those vegetables? That crate of eggs with the bag of grapes… And that’s just the usual, daily stuff when it comes to food. Then there are the occasions when we have a certain price for a certain gadget that we’re saving up for. Thinking, just three more weeks of saving then I’ll be able to buy it. Then, just two more, then just one more, and so on. As much as the coveted prize, its weighty price is often what we think about—I just need three hundred dollars more, then two hundred, then a hundred, and so on. This happens from thinking about food to moving into our first house with the two-car garage.
Seems like everything, even down to our basic needs, has got a price.
But is everything worth it?
You see, we don’t intentionally, and purposely, set our minds to constantly think about prices. What’s often front and center in our heads is the prize itself. The many situations that we imagine when we finally got that GoPro or that latest iPhone. The things that we can do with it, how we want to do it, and when and where. The results that we’d get, the people that we want to share it with, and the likes we may accumulate on Facebook and Instagram...
But when we’re working up our way to attain it, we also often think about how much it costs and just how much we have yet to fulfill that cost. And that’s just about a material object.
What about the human life?
How often do we see another human being as a prize, with a price, and they are worth it?
We don’t have to start with the greatest patriotic hero America has ever had. Let’s just begin with you. Do you see yourself as a prize, that you come with a price, but you are worth it?
It’s atrocious to think that human life has a price but it does. History records that from the ancient of times the human trade was a common existence, even a sign of esteem and affluence. Not only were there different “classes” of the human life that determined whether you would be of lower or higher worth, but being born a woman or a man is the difference whether you’d get to keep your free will or not.
In Jesus’ time, if you were born into a Bedouin tribe of Mesopotamia a daughter, you’d be born into shame. You would’ve existed only to please and seek the approval of the men in your family, starting with your father. Your life was not your own. And if you were born out of wedlock, your father had the prerogative to sell you to lawless slave traders and profit from your price.
And we say, thank God that’s in the past! Civilization has certainly evolved from such barbaric and wicked means.
According to the A21 Campaign, a non-profit organization fighting against modern day slavery, there are approximately 27 million slaves in the world. The majority of them are women and children yet to be rescued. They are somebody’s wife, friend, and sister. Someone’s neighbor, co-worker, and student. They are somebody’s daughter.
Reportedly in countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and my birthplace Indonesia, where starvation is the norm in many parts of the country, the girls’ own immediate family are the ones responsible for selling them off. And sadly, that includes mothers and fathers wanting to profit from their daughters so they could purchase a TV. Perhaps in their eyes a television is worth the laughter and smiles of their very children.
These may be extreme waters we’re treading. Ok, maybe this other issue will seem a little less… “intense”—How many ads on billboards, TV, and YouTube have half-naked women endorsing them? Sure, it’s not like the barbaric slavery in Jesus’ time and today’s, but people are still buying. Because someone’s still selling.
Is this topic still a little irrelevant and impersonal to us? What about this—the young teenage girls who are willing to please their boyfriends by changing their entire selves because that’s the price for the affections they yearn for that tell them they are valuable. But it’s not just little girls, is it? Grown-ups do it too—when you work super hard, really not because you have a great work ethic, but in your honest moments you know it’s because of this; when your boss and the people affirm you for your effort, you feel like you are finally worth something. Till you end up in the ER with a failing kidney and a distressed soul—the cost for a meaningful existence.
There’s always a price to pay.
So… What does the Creator God have to say for all of this?
God who is also a Husband, Friend, and Brother. God who is also a Neighbor, Co-Laborer, and Teacher. God who is also a Father.
God didn’t just say a word. God, the Word (see John 1:1), went on the greatest rescue mission there ever was. And unlike the strong and admirable US Navy Seals, or any competent military unit for that matter, this mission was not to avoid dying at all. In fact, dying, and dying the most evil, brutal, and barbaric death ever was, was part of the goal.
Just what kind of atrocious, ridiculous, and unthinkable rescue mission was this?
The kind that rescued mankind from the most atrocious, ridiculous, and unthinkable situation there ever was. The kind that dealt with the root cause of those atrocious, ridiculous, and unthinkable situations—the curse of sin and death.
Because God sees mankind, lost sons and daughters, as a prize... His prize.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life…” (John 3:16)
And that they come with a price…
“For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified… Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is His flesh…” (Hebrews 10:14, 19,20)
And that we are worth it…
“…Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Hebrews 12:2)
There are many prizes with varying prices in this life, some worth it and some not. But life will have a new meaning when we start looking at things from God’s perspective. That you and I, and every other dying, enslaved, and lost son and daughter, are God’s prizes. He bought us with a very costly price but we are worth it. And if you ever question your value or anyone else’s, even those who have done you wrong, we only need to look at the Cross of Jesus Christ. It tells us our very price—His precious blood.
It’s inevitable for our minds to be filled with prizes and prices but let’s remember the ones that truly matter. Cause when we do, things will be a whole lot different.
There will for sure be more slaves rescued by those who have themselves been rescued; people forgiving, even loving, those who have thoroughly harmed and violated them; little girls and boys looking at themselves not from the eyes of the world, but from the One who created them and loves them with utmost relentlessness; and the motivation to work hard till we spend everything that we are comes not from an unfulfilled heart, but one renewed and intimately knows that the God from where our worth comes is most worthy to be served.
For God is incomparably the greatest prize… and to follow Him comes with a great price—everything we have… but it’s all worth it.
Simply because He is.
Rebecca Ticoalu serves as the director of Wellsprings Creative, the worship creative ministry of Jesus Reigns International and Abundant Grace Christian Church located in NJ. She is the founder of LOVE OUT LOUD, a love movement fighting against slavery and poverty through artistic and creative expressions.