My world view drastically changed when I got my first job. Up until that point in my life I had never given much thought to how much things actually cost. If your childhood was anything like mine, your parents financially provided for all your necessities, and within limits, your desires. “Oblivious” is probably the best word to describe our childhood understanding of economics and the law of supply and demand. However, in the process of time we all hit the magical age when we are eligible to apply for our first real job, whereupon fiscal realities promptly slap us in the face.
I am guessing my experience was not unlike yours. Once I emerged as a “Working Man” it became my responsibility to purchase, or contribute money towards, anything I wanted that fell outside of the realm of necessity. No longer could I arbitrarily request my parents buy me something, instead I was required to be intimately involved in the transaction. All of a sudden my young mind was forced to do mathematical gymnastics in order to understand the real cost of things. Rapidly I came to understand that in a very real way those numbers on my paycheck equated to my time, sweat and effort.
In the same way price tags ceased to be simply numbers, but instead began to represent valuable allotments of time. My thinking quickly became, “Do I really want to trade four hours for that movie?” or, “Are those shoes really worth a week of my life?” This was the beginning of my understanding of “worth”. The price tag might be telling me those shoes are worth $140, but they were not worth that to me. All of a sudden the things I formerly “couldn’t live without” became luxuries I could in fact live without. Funny how that goes when your money is on the line.
So what was going on here? Did those item cease to be valuable, or was there something else in play? Did the intrinsic worth of a pair of shoes really change, or was I simply cheap? Well, I am not going to answer those questions today. Instead I am simply going to use todays post as a teaser. It is my plan to lead into a series of posts which will explore the idea of value and worth. What makes something valuable, and what determines that value? How does God determine worth, and how does man? Be sure to come back Monday as we begin to explore the criteria of determining value.