Defining Value

As I read today’s readings, 2 Sam 23:8-24:25, 2 Cor 11, I found myself reflecting on what we value. 

The listing of David’s mighty men implies they are a source of great pride for David. It is a prelude to David’s census where he counts the fighting men of Israel. As soon as the count was in, David recognised that he had sinned greatly in what he had done, for the people of Israel belong to God, not David. (If you want to wrestle with God inciting David to this sin in 24:1, cf the parallel account of this in 1 Chronicles 21:1 and consider the sovereignty of God’s dominion).

Being asked to choose your punishment also exposes what you value. David’s choice is to trust in the Lord’s mercy, which he deems more trustworthy than men’s.

Perhaps the thing that stuck out to me most in this reading though, was the reason David insisted on paying for the land where he built the alter, and the oxen to be sacrificed, even though Araunah tried to give them to the King.

I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.

David knew that his sacrifice meant nothing if it cost nothing — it had to have value.


Paul too spends a fair bit of time discussing value; what the Corinthians seem to value , what they should value, and what he values.

I won’t dwell on the irony and sarcasm Paul uses in his writing to contrast himself with the Super-Apostles that the Corinthians seem to value because they were flashy speakers who, it is implied, charged money for people to come and hear their message. The Corinthians seemed to have a worldly rather than Godly value system.

Paul on the other hand values those he is writing to (indeed all the churches whom he has concern for) and that they be presented pure to God, wanting them to understand the true value of the unadorned Gospel he preached.

Finally, although written with ironic undertone to make his counter-intuitive and counter-cultural point, Paul totally nails the value equation, deeply understanding the value of total reliance on God rather than self.

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.


One thought on “Defining Value

  1. Thank you James. As I read thru Paul’s list of what he endured for Christ I felt a great sense of unworthiness, as I can’t make claim to much suffering for Jesus. My fellow brothers and sisters around the world would perhaps get more comfort from Paul’s words than me here in Wollongong. However as we want to be disciples of Jesus and not Paul we know that our time will come. In Gods upside down kingdom He has only this past week made clear to my heart the joy that we are to find in suffering when confronted with a trial – James 1:2-5.

    Thru the example of Graham Cooke in his teaching The Language of Heaven. His example was that when a trial came he raced to phone a friend and in compltee joy and excitement he exclaimed to his friend,” I’ve got a trial”!!!!!!!! He goes on to explain to his mate on the phone how excited he is to see how Jesus will be glorified thru this trail. I wanted this perspective when next I’m facing some trial in my life.

    How not like the world we have been instructed to behave as followers of Jesus. Surely we have to stand out! Or have we just blended in and morphed to look no different to those outside of Christs love?

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