Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What Is It Worth?

Joshua gave me permission to share part of an email he wrote to some friends in October, while we were living in the village:

“I just recently bought a football in the states and we have been playing with it a lot over here! Actually just yesterday we were playing with it by a river near our house, well maybe a really big stream :) and CJ was throwing it to my dad... I think you might be able to guess what happened next... Yes the sun got in my dad's eyes, he dropped the football, and after a few rather large bounces it took a dive into the river/big stream. Now I, who had grown mighty attached to this football, saw my dream of becoming a professional football player being swept away. However desperate times call for desperate measures, and I was a desperate man. Being a man of action and not of complacency, I hastily folded up my pant legs and waded/lunged into the river to save my football.”

To Joshua, rescuing his football was worth jumping into a cold river and getting wet shoes.

Two and a half years ago, when we were on a summer visit in the States, Jordan, Charly, and I went for a refreshing afternoon hike in the Colorado mountains. The scenery was beautiful and we passed the camera back and forth, taking pictures of the mountains, the waterfall and each other. On our return trip, Charly hoped to get just one more picture of the two of us together. We came across a tree that had fallen across a dry creek bed, and he envisioned the perfect shot. It would involve our walking across the tree and posing for a picture at the other end. I assured him that I did not have good enough balance to walk across something so narrow and high off the ground. So he consented to walk across himself and pull me up at the far end, where the tree was close to five feet off the ground. Jordan was ready with the camera to capture the smiles of her nimble and graceful parents in the picturesque forest background.

Charly’s first attempt to get me off the ground was not successful, but he never wavered in his belief that we could do it. His strong arm once again reached down to lift me up. More force this time. Enough force to propel me up and into the air. But I must have been pulling back with enough force in the opposite direction to launch him off the tree. Jordan watched him go flying off the tree and hit the ground about 10 feet away. She was yelling as she ran over, “Daddy, are you ok?”

The great force of Charly’s lift took me into the air and then left me clearly out of control with no Charly on the tree to stabilize me. So I must have changed position mid-air, from vertical to horizontal, in order not to continue on a course that would have taken me off the other side of the tree. I ended up hugging the tree with my knocked-off sunglasses partially buried in the leaves beneath me. Thankfully we just ended up with some minor scrapes. I have a bear-claw like scar on my forearm from the tree scratches to remind me of my un-gracefulness.

It was the perfect picture that never was. (Although I’m sure it would have made a humorous video!) Was trying to get that picture worth it? I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s wise for Charly and me to attempt any more poses where I need to be pulled up higher than my shoulders.

I was thinking about the question “What is it worth?” this morning after breakfast, when we sang “The Wonderful Cross” while CJ played the guitar.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross,
Bids me come and die and find that I
May truly live—

Were the whole realm of Nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!

(words by Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin, J. D Walt, and Isaac Watts)

I was challenged to think about the deep meaning of the words in this song.
What is following Jesus really worth to me? What am I willing to give up? To risk for Him?

Can I give Him everything? My soul, my life, my all?

Jim Elliot wrote about the eternal worth of living for Him: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” His martyrdom is a true testimony of how he embodied those words. They were not just words to him. May they not be merely words to us today either.

Jesus is worth everything I have to give. What keeps me from giving it all to Him?

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