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This is Truly Valuable

I just don’t get it.  What people buy (or are willing to pay) for merchandise is bizarre to me.  It has never been my goal to wear jeans with large holes in the knees as a prized possession bought “new” off the rack at a clothing store.  Or, how about paying hundreds of dollars for a pair of tennis shoes simply because of the label?  Or people that camp out to buy a specific electronic device at Christmas that is on sale?  We may know the price of lots of things but I am not sure that we understand the value of very much. That is not just true of possessions. It is also true in seeing the way people are treated by our culture.

One of the greatest advances in vending machine technology was the ability of the machine to accept bills rather than just coins. Especially as prices increased, it came as a relief not having to search the car seats for that extra quarter – now you just slide in a dollar bill or two and you’re ready to snack. That is unless your dollar bill is rejected!

What a terrible feeling. You watch your dollar get sucked into the machine and then it spits it back at you. You check the little picture to make sure George’s head is facing the right way and try again. If you’re rejected again you do that little ritual that you saw some other guy do – you take the bill and rub it on a corner trying to take out any possible crease in the bill. You unfold any turned-up corners and hope you’re bill is good enough. If you still find your bill rejected you’re now ready to take the machine on – that’s why they put those machines behind metal bars!! “What’s the deal,” you think. A dollar is a dollar, after all, whether it’s fresh out of the mint or if it’s been folded, wadded, washed and taped. Why should this machine accept a good looking bill but reject an old, worn out one? A clean, fresh bill is of no more value than a worn-out one.

As much as we don’t want to admit it, we are so much like those dastardly vending machines. We tend to be more accepting of people who have it all together and tend to be less-than-accepting of people who have been folded, wadded, washed, and taped. People who have been through the ringer often find themselves spit out by many of us who prefer to accept only the pristine.

The New Testament author James wrote to Christians and shuddered at the fact that followers of Christ could exhibit such preferential behavior. He imagines a scene where two people come into church, one wearing fine clothes and one wearing not-so-fine. The one in mint condition is escorted to the front of the assembly while the other is sent off to the cheap seats. He sums up his argument by saying, “My dear brothers and sisters, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, never think some people are more important than others.”

This type of behavior is so contrary to Christians because it is so contrary to Christ. Dollar bills of all kinds who had been repeatedly spit out by others found themselves welcome and accepted by Christ. Jesus was able to recognize the inherent value of every human being as he looked beyond the scars that were so visible and so despised by others. A human being is a human being, after all, whether they’re fresh out of the mint or if they’ve been folded, wadded, washed, and taped. Jesus received us all!   He modeled it, he taught it, let’s do it!  (Copied).