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Monday, January 7, 2013

On the Value of Things

Have you had a cherished possession that was broken, lost or stolen? How did you feel? How would you have felt if you had given it away? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1051).

Often I have seen on the news after a devastating fire or flood has ravished a neighborhood, people dejectedly going through the rubble that was once their homes looking for sentimental items that nature had destroyed without any regard to what the items meant to their owners. Once I had a collection of old vinyl records. One record was a 45 RPM record in mint condition. It was Elvis Presley singing Loving You. I had gotten the record many years ago when I was just entering my teens. I had planned to give it as a gift to my brother and his wife on a significant wedding anniversary. But once while I was away a thief entered my home and stole the record collection including that record. The thief probably had in view a quick cash turnover in some Saturday flea market. I felt much as those people that have seen prized possessions impersonally destroyed in a storm. The item had a deep meaning for me. It symbolized an abiding connection between me and my brother and his wife. It also brought back cherished memories of my youth. The thief had a flagrant disregard for the full dimensions and dynamism of value this item had for me. He stole it to realize a few bucks quickly. So for me the offense was only superficially tied to monetary value of the item, but constituted a profound betrayal of my personhood. 

This can give a clue as to the deep feelings of patriotism for country that can arise. An invading army may be primarily concerned with power or plunder, but have little comprehension or regard for the value that people place upon their motherland. The aggression constitutes an offense of a much greater magnitude than merely the potential loss of real estate or material possessions. It is rather something that goes to the core of being and is therefore worth dying for.

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