Currently, a bottle of water in a Costco vending machine costs about $0.25.
The same bottle in an average supermarket costs between $0.50 and $1.00.
If ordered at a bar it may cost around $2.00-$4.00.
In a restaurant or hotel, it can cost up to $3.00, $4.00, or more.
At an airport, amusement park, or theater, you may be charged $5.00-$6.00.
The bottles and the contents are all roughly the same. The only thing different is the location where you purchase them. In Costco, you’re expecting a discount, and you get one. In a grocery store, you expect you’ll pay a fair retail fee. From there, depending on the location, you expect a certain amount of mark-up, adjusted for ambiance, necessity, or convenience, with each location dictating the “value’ of the same product.
Have you ever felt your own value fluctuate depending on where are? Dining at a celebrity gala might give you a “sense” of having a greater value than if you were dining at a fast-food restaurant or asking for a handout at a soup kitchen.
Attending an Ivy League school might give you a greater “sense” of value than attending a community college, or no college at all. Fellowshipping with dear friends or treasured loved ones may leave you feeling more valued than mingling amongst a group of mere acquaintances or strangers.
Always remember that your true value is ascribed to you, not by your circumstances, but by your Creator. No matter where you are or who you're with, you are worth the life and death of the very Son of God. Your value is immeasurable; as infinite and eternal as the value of the Savior Himself.
That being so, don't allow anyone to detract from the value which God Himself has placed on you. You were created in the image of God, and in Christ, you are a child of the Living God and a joint-heir with Jesus. The eternal Kingdom of God is yours along with all of its benefits.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Gen 1:27 (ESV)
“[A]nd if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ …” Rom 8:17a (NKJV)
Occasionally I will check my credit report to make sure no one has stolen my identity. On one occasion, I could not remember my user name for the Experian website. So, I clicked on the "Forgot Username" button to have it sent to me by e-mail.
Then they wanted my birthdate and my Social Security number. Ten minutes later the e-mail arrived with my username. I went back to the Experian website and logged in without any difficulty.
But logging in was not enough. I remained locked out until I typed in the six-digit number they texted to my phone. Finally, I was in and the screen said, "Thank you for helping keep your identity secure!"
Experian goes to great lengths to protect my identity. To log in as me, a thief would have to know my email, my login, my birthdate, my SS number, my cell number, and have my cell phone in their possession. If someone had all that information they would be able to impersonate me, take out loans in my name, and cause me great harm.
Of even greater value, though, is my identity in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new." This new identity is also worth protecting.
According to Jesus, there is a thief who would like to steal this identity, and he does this by lying to us about who we are and what we have been given in Christ (John 10:10).
We must be vigilant to maintain a strong sense of our spiritual identity in Christ, at least as vigilantly as Experian fights to protect our personal identity in this world.
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:4,5, NKJV)
There is a story about Margaret Thatcher visiting a retirement community while she was serving as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She walked around visiting with residents and shaking hands. When it seemed like one woman did't recognize her, Thatcher asked, "Do you know who I am?"
"No," the woman replied, "But if you ask the nurse, she usually knows."
In Christ, we are to intentionally forget who we were and take on a new identity. Paul instructed the Galatians that following Jesus means letting our old selves die so we might take up a completely new self.
Have you forgotten who you were? Ask Jesus, He usually knows!
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).