Monday, February 22, 2016

What Do You Value?

As you all know, I recently read The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. And if you read my recap of it, you also know that I couldn't put it down. But as I neared the end of the book, this sentence stopped me in my tracks.
"...for the Hurons were in no degree exempt from that governing principle of nature, which induces man to value his gifts precisely in the degree that they are appreciated by others."
From The Last of the Mohicans (chapter 27) page 290.

Let that sink in a minute.

What makes something valuable? Think about your life. Think about what you have. What is more valuable to you than anything else? Why is it that thing? 

Oftentimes, we humans ascribe value to things simply based on whether the majority of people also value it. 

Now I understand that my diamond engagement ring is worth more than a candy ring pop. I get that. But let's really think about this. A lot of statistics today show that more than half of all marriages end in divorce. Society has said that marriage is not valuable. That if you can't seem to get along with your spouse, or if marriage is making your life harder instead of easier, then you can just throw your marriage away and start over. And since the majority seem to agree with this mindset, we have people in marriages who don't value their spouse. Who are too busy looking around and thinking the grass is greener on the other side instead of rolling up their sleeves and getting down to the business of cultivating their own lawn. Who are having affairs, physical and emotional, thinking that since marriage isn't that important, they're not doing any damage. 

Or think about this. Approximately 42 million abortions occur each year. Forty. Two. Million. Does that number not stagger you? That calculates out to over 100,000 abortions every single day. Society has said that human life is not valuable. That if a pregnancy comes at a bad time for you or if the baby growing inside of you might not be perfectly healthy, then you can just throw that life away and not feel guilty about it. And since the loudest voices are screaming that every woman has the right to choose whether or not they should be able to have a baby or throw it away, we have teenage girls who are making a decision they can never take back. Who are damaging their body and their psyche without realizing the consequences of such an act. We have women who are calloused, jaded, and crusading for a cause they don't believe in to assuage their guilty conscience. 

Let's take it even further. We're seeing studies that show millennials are walking away from the church in droves. Society has said that the Bible is not valuable. That if you believe the universe happened as a result of chance, or if same-sex marriage is not a sin, then you can just throw away what the Bible has to say to these issues and do whatever you want. And since the most popular opinions seem to be that evolution is scientifically sound and same-sex marriage is not offensive and gender-reassignment is perfectly acceptable and life before birth actually isn't life at all, we have a world full of people who think that they can still claim the name of Christ while living in direct opposition to His Word. Who have taken prayer out of schools and public places and government. Who are persecuting anyone who does take a stand for Biblical truth. 

I could go on and on. Don't even get me started on being discontent with the size of your TV, or your house, or your yard. Comparison is a dangerous game, and using a standard set by sinful people to measure your own blessings or determine the state of your personal contentment is a road you don't need to go down.

Let's be people who think for ourselves. Who value marriage and life and God's Word. Who treasure and protect these most precious of gifts instead of mindlessly following the herd mentality we so often encounter. Let's be people who stand up--even if it means standing alone--for truth.

What do you value?


  1. we need so much less than we really think we do, materially speaking. as americans, we so surround ourselves with all this "stuff": tv, media, houses, toys, books, entertainment, exercise equipment, cars, bikes, the list goes on and on and on and on. all of these things may not be necessarily bad--but we also don't understand the meaning of moderation. so we bombard ourselves with our "things" every day, in and out, all the time. we are conciously distracting ourselves from what MATTERS: God, our spirituality, eternity, other people, and what we're doing with the time we've been given.

    maybe if we weren't so concerned with having our "stuff", we'd be getting out of these boxes we live in and actually experiencing other people. we can read a number like 100,000 abortions a day on a wonderful blog like this one and it's just a number. WALK INTO that abortion clinic and look into those terrified teenage girls' eyes. listen to their stories. show them the love, understanding, and guidance they're so desperately seeking--then maybe they won't feel like they're finding it in that clinic.

    and that's just one example.

    if we could begin to understand that the world is bigger than our boxes, if we could get over the fear our generation has somehow acquired of actually LIVING life and experiencing things in a real way--then i think our priorities would begin to come into focus. i think we'd start to wonder why we value the things we do and de-value the others. then i think we'd start asking questions. and that's when good, strong, incredible Christians can step up to the plate and start providing the answer.

    but what do i know. good post.

  2. Hannah. YES.
    Reagan. YES.

    I think these thoughts on a weekly basis!

  3. Well spoken and thought out, Hannah and Reagan. May God begin with each one of us individually. Reading His Word is a good way to renew your mind in these matters. The battle is truly fought in the mind. Actions will follow. Love you both so much.

  4. I know this has nothing to do with your whole post (which is excellent) but I can't help thinking how this book helps generate such deep, spiritual thoughts and discussions. It's one of the best things about literature from this time. It doesn't seem like modern authors have much depth. At all. Reading books like this not only take you on an adventure (which many modern novels can do in a second, Angels and Demons, am I right??) but they also force you to think about the state of your soul, what the motivations are behind your actions, and how those actions truly affect other people or what those actions say about humanity in general. One of the easiest ways not to be affected by atrocities in our time is to simply ignore them. People enjoy the depthless novels they read today because those books do not prick your conscious in any sort of significant way. Reading books like The Last of the Mohicans does not leave room for "blissful" ignorance.

  5. Bahhhhhhhh. Osbornes. Cutting me to the quick. Your family challenges me more than anyone else I know. Without even trying!

    Best friend, that post broke me. Reagan's comment shattered me. And Oakie's blew it to dust.

    What am I doing with my life?