By John Ed Mathison
Sir Ernest Shackleton spearheaded an expedition to the South Pole. The group ran into tremendous trouble and unexpected circumstances. Lives were in jeopardy as they started to return to safety. It became necessary to discard many of the items they carried with them in order to survive.
Sir Ernest began to notice the way his group chose what they would hold onto and what they would discard. The first thing to go was their money. It was not as important as life. The second thing to go was the food they carried in their backpacks. They discarded everything that added weight and hindered their survival. The items they chose to carry with them were pictures of their loved ones and letters from home.
We have to make decisions about the value of life in relation to the things that we choose to carry with us. While we are not on an expedition to the South Pole, we make those kinds of decisions every day. It may not always be for survival, but our decisions about values do determine the quality, fulfillment and meaningfulness of life. It is a challenge to avoid hanging on to things of little value and discarding things of great value.
We remember well the Olympics in Rio last year. Athletes spent years of rigorous training (and a huge portion of their lives) to win a gold medal. Even though the gold medals were only gold plated, they are greatly valued by all athletes!
A recent report is showing that those medals are beginning to fall apart. Like many Olympic facilities in Rio, the medals are disintegrating and losing their value. We all make value decisions about the things that are important. Some things in which we invest our time, energy and resources are not really things that increase in value.
In May 2017, a man from South Dakota saw his apartment complex on fire, and he knocked over police and firefighters to get back into his apartment. He actually interfered with emergency workers. When he came out of the building, he was hand-cuffed and charged with obstruction. The man, Michael Casteel, 56 years old, barged back into the apartment building just to get two cans of Bud Ice Premium! He risked his life and the lives of others to save two cans of beer. Sad!
Be sure you know what things are valuable in life and what things are not. Lloyd Jack and Ruairi Gray are 22-year old students in Scotland. They were visiting an art exhibition and decided to see how much people knew about real values. These two guys bought a pineapple and placed it on an empty display stand as a joke. They came back four days later and found that the fruit was now encased in glass and made part of the modern art exhibit. They paid $1.30 for the pineapple, and the “experts” had obviously mistaken it for real art.
Jesus honored a woman who dropped in the smallest amount into the treasury when He said she knew about value – it was the best she had. She knew value. A rich man asked Jesus about how to enter the Kingdom of God. He chose not to follow Jesus because he was not willing to give up his money. He didn’t know about value. Jesus invites all of us to follow Him. We discover the greatest values in life when we “seek first His kingdom, and anything we need will be given to us” (Matthew 6:33).
Here are some valuable questions: If life is like the expedition to the South Pole, what are you going to discard and what are you going to keep? Are the medals that you compete for each day deteriorating or gaining in value? What are you willing to go back into a burning apartment to retrieve? In choosing your values of life, can you differentiate between false displays and the displays that have value?
What is your VQ – Value Quotient?