How much value to do we place on a human life? What’s a life truly worth? In asking this question, I took an internet survey designed to place value on your life based on physical, mental, lifestyle, and personality factors. I’m not going to share the link, due to the inappropriateness of a couple of the questions, but according to the site, my life is worth $2,260,072. I gained points on this survey for being a non-smoker, for having a high GPA in school, and for saying I have above average creativity and sense of humor; I lost points for being short, overweight, and left-handed.
Before you think I’m rushing out to buy a two-and-a-quarter-million dollar life insurance policy, I’ll admit that I don’t believe we can place a monetary value on a human life. Let’s face it, countless numbers of people believe that their life has value; otherwise, people wouldn’t contribute to society. The pro-life lobby is large and vocal in America, and our justice system reserves its harshest penalties for those who have taken the life of another. Clearly, it’s possible for us to believe that our lives have value and worth without sounding arrogant.
In Acts 20, however, Paul takes that notion and turns it on its ear. When faced with his inevitable, final trip to Jerusalem to face his accusers, he makes the following statement:
And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
Acts 20:22-24 (NIV, emphasis mine)
Do you catch what Paul’s saying here? He says that his life has no value compared to the cause of Christ. That’s a pretty radical shift (dare I say revolutionary?), especially for our day and age. Paul was so surrendered to his God-given mission that he was willing to put his own wants, desires, and dreams…his own life…aside for it. In light of that thought, what’s your life worth?