Back in the day when price tags weren’t secured on merchandise by chains, security alarms, dye packs and much more, some of my peers would switch price tags in the store–just for the fun of it. And, I know a few people who changed the price tags as a way to get an item for a lower price.
If you think about it, someone has switched the price tags on a lot of things in our culture. We barely pay a decent salary to our school teachers who significantly influence the trajectory of a young student’s life but a 20-something guy who barely got through college gets paid millions of dollars to throw or catch a football on Sunday afternoon. Our want-driven advertising campaigns encourage us to constantly pursue things that will ultimately end up in a landfill.
17th Century theologian Jonathan Edwards observed that the ultimate good in life is to treat things according to their true value. We need to be extremely careful about treating the eternal as though it were temporal and the temporal as though it were eternal.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” is a statement made by Jesus (Matthew 6:21). Jesus was addressing our tendency to pursue whatever we value the most. If we buy into our culture’s value system, we will miss out on the joys of knowing God deeply and the joys of God’s best intentions for this life. We will drift toward relationships that are just contacts in our phone lists or “friends” on Facebook. We can easily degenerate into manipulating people to get what we think we want. We become driven to accomplish rather than to spend quality time with those we love. We work harder to impress than to build intimacy with others. And we end up on the treadmill of busyness and striving—disconnected, disillusioned and spent.
What have you invested your life in this past week? Have you invested in anything or anyone that will out live you? Joan of Arc said, “It is not a tragedy to die for something you believe in, but it is a tragedy to find at the end of your life that what you believed in betrayed you.” Her idea captures the tension between the temporal and the eternal. Have you allowed the price tags to be switched?
QUESTION: What helps you stay focused on the right values? Please share it below.