What’s your value? Was smoke starting to roll out of your ears as you read the first section of the last chapter of Leviticus? I mean, this is how God wraps up his Handbook for Humanity – by placing unequal values on each or our heads? By insinuating that men of a certain age are worth the most and women are valued less than men in all circumstances? Is this the God we praise and worship and look to for confirmation in our own values? Yes. It’s still the same God, and we can’t view this chapter as anything but a business deal – an outline for a working government that depends on contributing taxpayers, if you will. Look at it like this, God has commanded that the Israelites dedicate their first-born sons to him. That’s kind of like sending your oldest boy off to the monastery when he’s of age. For families who did not want to send their kids off to join the priesthood, however, God gave an out: they can pay the priest in cash a set value. Now, this value is determined by how much this person potentially could contribute to the community, and for males, that was a lot. Let’s face it, the men generally were the bread winners, the hunters, the gatherers, etc. We know that’s not always true, but we also can’t deny that’s the traditional role men are given, and I’m fine with that. We all have a role, and if my man is out digging trenches and gutting deer while I’m all warm and cozy at home baking bread, hey, I am completely cool with being valued at 20 bucks to the community, whereas he is valued at 50. Of course, if you’re a gal who’s swapped roles with her hubby, I am completely cool with that, too, and in cases such as that, I have no doubt in my mind that God would have looked at that woman’s value to the community a little differently. God is fair. God is just. That doesn’t mean people are fair or people are just though. While we can break down what God is saying in these last few paragraphs that end this book and understand them better because we’ve read through the backstories and histories that preceded these rules, many people pick up the Bible here, and we’ve all seen instances where these passages are used to place actual values on humans’ heads. No, sirree, Bob. That’s not the way it works. You can, however, look to this chapter as the first recorded constitution, or historical document, for mankind. When we do that and compare it to the existing constitutions of our own countries and people groups, we can get a better sense of what God was trying to establish, and we also can see the changes and adaptations that have been needed to get us to where we are today. We’ve come a long way, baby, and we have Jesus to thank for that.
Writing prompt: value
What’s your worth? Our youth director in high school once asked us during youth group, “If you could change places with anyone in the world who would it be?” I thought and thought and thought! I couldn’t think of anyone in the world who didn’t have some sort of baggage. Movie stars are hounded; Jesus was a no; my parents’ jobs didn’t interest me. So when it came my turn, I finally just said, “Nobody.” Boring. But my view was that everyone has some sort of problem, and I had enough of my own, so what if I changed places with someone and their problems were worse than mine??? In my Gothic quest for transcendentalism, I also threw out a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson (which I believe I had taped to the inside of my locker or written on the cover of a notebook or something): “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” So teen. But really, it’s true, isn’t it? And God doesn’t want us to be anything less than ourselves. I wish I would have carried the same mindset I had in high school about myself into my 20s, but somewhere between some great loss of life and self-esteem, I also lost that confident teenage girl, and with that, I lost her value. Luckily, God did not lose me, and Jesus paid the final price for my salvation. Maybe it was worth just 20 bucks to some people, but to me, my Jesus made my value priceless. I hope you feel the same about yourself today. Write about your value, your individuality, your set-apartedness – your HOLINESS! – in an open letter to Jesus today. Thank him for his life that replaces each and every rule in Leviticus, and share your gratitude for his sacrifice.