a little lesson in place value


Teaching place value to second and third graders is no easy task. To understand that a “one” has a different value depending on the value of it’s position, well, that just takes a bit of time and practice to wrap one’s 8 year old brain around. Or, one’s 50 year old brain, or 27, or 75 year old brain.

Because one is just one, right?  No, not when it stands in the hundreds place.  Then it’s one hundred.  Or when it stands in the millions place, it’s one million. Or when it stands in the trillions place?  The value depends upon its position.

I don’t know whether my brain is on teacher overload or what.  But I actually woke up thinking about place value.  And then my thoughts turned to value….to the value of One.   One idea.  One gift.  One ability. One person.  One life.  And my thoughts turned to what we place value in.  The “place” in the previous sentence is a verb.  A verb, an action, a determination to do something.  What do I place value in?

One child overseas thousands of miles away who dies from ebola…that is one.  One. One missionary (Kent Brantley) who comes from serving those with ebola and contracts the same disease is just one.  But the value placed in that one man, through others rallying support, love, prayers, money, and medical resources…is it equal to the one unknown child who dies from ebola?  Or the One young girl who is caught up in the sex trafficking industry who is nameless even to those in her daily life…is she of the same value as the one sweet little girl who was the child of missionaries serving in Thailand who passed away as a result of an illness? This precious child’s parents were there to rescue little girls who did not live in freedom.  Thousands across the globe rallied in prayer as this little girl succumbed to her illness.  Did she have more value than the little girls who her parents came to the country to save? It depends on who is placing the value.

So here’s the thing. In the natural world, the value we place is so dependent on location, position, prestige, ability, appearance, and the list goes on. Just as there is a ones place, a tens place, a hundreds place, the world seeks to measure us according to our position of value.   But, in the eyes of Christ?  One is One.  And One has infinite value.  He has loved us with an everlasting love.  Period.   Whether ‘we’ are an ‘unknown’ in some obscure place with very little ability or prestige, or are well-known in the most prestigious of positions, we are all seen with the same value through the eyes of Christ.  And that’s a beautiful thing no matter what our position in life is.  We are all “One in a million”.  All Loved and Valued.  All standing in the same “Place value”.  And that is an incredibly valuable thing to wrap our brains, and our hearts around.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Oh, and here’s a sidenote that I can’t leave unsaid on this subject.  There’s an organization which focuses on the value of one. The Exodus Road is an organization which exists to pursue, find, and rescue those whose lives have been overtaken and enslaved by the sex trafficking industry.  The Exodus Road focuses on the value of one. It strategizes, determines, risks, and exists to rescue, recover, and validate the value of lives enslaved, one life at a time.   ONE life at a time.  To support this amazing non profit organization, please go to the link above.  To date, they have rescued 326. Three hundred twenty six ONES.  Three hundred twenty six lives who would have otherwise been trapped in an underground world which exists to  undermine and  de-value the mind, spirit, and body of the victims residing there.  This dark underground world exists to create  a mere existence.  The Exodus Road values each person lost in the sex trafficking industry and paves the way to help them to find their way out, and to find their way back to knowing that they are valued.  Each and every one.

May those of us who know, believe, and trust that we are valued, in turn, value. And that will in turn multiply the value of one.  But, multiplication?  That’s a lesson for another day…



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