How Much Are You Worth?

designer shoes.jpg

My son recently posted a video about what he considered “a brilliant marketing plan”.  In it, Hollywood stars and other celebrities were trying on “designer footwear” at a newly-opened shoe-store called “Palessi”.  Between the Italian name and a lot of media hype, the buzz had it that this was the place to obtain the trendiest, highest-quality footwear out there.  Celebrities boldly stated, when interviewed, that they would gladly pay up to $500 for some of these pairs of shoes, and certainly no less than $200.  Which they did, and proudly displayed to the viewing public.

Imagine their shock and chagrin when the parent company revealed their name and the true source of these shoes-- “Palessi” was really Payless (Shoes)!  And the entire stock was identical to that you’d find in any Payless Shoe store.  Imagine the reactions of the celebrities when they found out! (Maybe they should start a new show and call it Sole Survivor?)

By the way, Payless returned all the money to the buyers, and let them keep the shoes.  But why was this marketing plan so brilliant?  Besides all the publicity gained, Payless had succeeded in demonstrating that their shoes were such high-quality, they could pass for designer brand.  They had gotten their message across: “If you’re willing to pay such high prices for these shoes, why not get them at good prices at Payless?  Why pay more for just a name?”

Why indeed?  Because people automatically attach higher worth to famous-name brand products.  Jeans with certain labels sewn on them can go for ten times more than those without.  Sometimes this reputation is earned for good reason, and we do well to note who the maker is, especially when it truly means a difference in quality.  Other times, there’s no difference.  It’s all in the name.

Which leads to the question—how much are WE each worth?  Does our maker increase or decrease our value?  If so, it matters who made us.  If we were just slapped together by shoddy workmanship, we wouldn’t be worth much.  Especially if the maker had a bad reputation.  Or, (worse yet), if all our parts had come together by random chance, like an explosion in a factory, who knows what the final product would be?  I don’t think anyone would attribute much worth to it, though.

When it comes to human (and all) life, the maker does matter.   His character, workmanship, and reputation does count.  Thankfully we didn’t get thrown together by shoddy workers or random chance.  We have the top Maker in the universe!  We, all people, are the ultimate Designer Brand product!   We are “made in His image” (Gen. 1:27).  His label is in our genes! :)

What does this mean?  First, it means we are top-quality in the way we were created—“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”  (Gen. 1:31)  What we do with what He made—us-- is up to us, but it started out perfect. 

Second, we were created with loving care, each detail designed and carried out with the best outcome in mind.  “For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Ps. 139:13)  The word “knit” evokes a picture of both carefulness and design, with loving hands bringing it forth—like a grandma knitting mittens for all her grandkids to keep warm in the winter snow.  The more the love, the higher the value.

Third, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph. 2:10).  The word “handiwork”, also translated “workmanship” comes from the original Greek “poema”, from where we get our English word “poem”.  We poets and songwriters put our best thoughts possible into each one, to convey the deepest, most valuable, meaning possible.  That is, if we’re serious about it.  God is.  And since He’s perfect, He makes us with the best thoughts possible, for the best possible value and meaning.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Look at the implications—not just how we were made, but why—“to do good works”—for a well-planned purpose!  How can anyone really appreciate the value of a pair of shoes until they wear them?   Our intrinsic value is demonstrated by blessing others.  Not that it gives us more worth, it just spreads it into others’ lives.

On the practical level, something is considered worth what people are willing to pay for it.  We saw this with the “Palessi” shoes experiment.   Be reassured—the Ruler of the universe was willing to pay the ultimate price to redeem us.  So, we’re not only Designer Brand products, we’ve been bought and paid for by the top “Celebrity”!  

Which makes our worth a real “shoe-in”.  Let’s walk in that reality!