I took all three kids to Stevi B’s (pizza buffet/arcade) by myself this week to give my wife a break (and let’s be honest, to earn a few brownie points in the process). Part of the proceeds would benefit their school and the pizza is good, but the real reason the kids like Stevie B’s is the arcade. You’ve been there before, or somewhere very much like it. In the arcade you exchange cash for tokens, then the kids play their favorite games and win tickets. Finally, at the end of the night, they add up their tickets to exchange the tickets for toys. Sounds like fun, but I overlooked one little detail. I forgot how long it takes for kids to decide what to get with their tickets. Their little faces were pressed up against the glass for what seemed like hours, making life-and-death decisions. “Super Bouncy Ball or Glow in the Dark Vampire Teeth?!? Dad, I’ve spent 383 tickets, but what can I do with my last four?!?”
I’ve never missed my wife more than I did in that moment.
Once they carefully selected their treasures we made our way back to the truck for the drive home. Since the kids spent some of their own money in the arcade, I thought this would be a great time for a life lesson. Our conversation shifted toward value and worth. My daughter asked how much each ticket was worth. I explained that each token cost twenty-five cents, but the number of tickets you received for each token depended upon your skill at the game. The better you are a Skee-Ball, the more tickets you get per token. Then I asked the kids to add up how much money they spent in the arcade. The total was about five dollars each. So I asked them to look at the cheap, plastic items in their lap and tell me if they were worth five dollars. And that’s when I learned my life lesson. My son looked up with wonder and amazement in his eyes and exclaimed, “I got all this stuff for just five dollars?! What a great deal! We need to come shopping here all the time!”
In my son’s eyes, you just couldn’t put a value on a blue plastic samurai sword that he had “always wanted forever”. Then you throw in a ball, some glow-in-the-dark teeth, and a friendship bracelet… this was a king’s ransom. I didn’t have anything else to say. The words “value” and “worth” have never been so real to me. I remember asking my Dad one time how much something was worth and his reply was, “whatever someone is willing to pay.” It really is hard to put a value on some things because value is relative based on the object’s merit or importance.
As we drove along in silence and the kids played with their new treasures, my mind drifted to a few scriptures that describe our worth to our Heavenly Father.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” -Matthew 10:29-31
God cares for his creation. In fact, not even one sparrow dies and falls to the ground without God noticing it. To us sparrows seem so small and insignificant, but if God values the sparrows so much, how much more does He care for, and value us? We are more valuable than many sparrows! God knows so much about us that He even knows the number of hairs on our head! (insert joke about your friend who is bald)
Listen… sometimes you may feel like a worthless pile of plastic junk. A bent and broken toy samurai sword that’s just one swing away from the trash, but when your Heavenly Father looks at you, He sees a King’s ransom.