What do you value most in life?
In his book Start, Jon Acuff calls what we value most in life our diamonds. They are the gems we hold most precious.
He says that since time is our most valuable, non-renewable resource, we can only objectively assess what we value by looking at our recent history.
Our diamonds are the things we spend the most time thinking about and engaging with.
If I were asked (outside of church) what I value most, I’d probably say my diamonds are my marriage, my children and my health.
These are pretty noble answers. Hardly anyone is going to criticize me for replying in this way.
However, I’ve realized that I’ve been more than a little off base.
Some Things that We Mistakenly Over-Value
When I objectively assess my life, some inconsistencies come to light.
Honestly, I spend the majority of my time on things other than my marriage, children and health.
I also noticed that Jesus didn’t even make the list.
So, where have I gone wrong?
The authors of the book Sway, teach that we are often easily misled in how we assign value.
Our culture, the media and even our peers have more influence on us that we like to think.
Therefore, we easily get swayed into assigning lots of value to things like:
- Material Possessions
- Job Performance
- Social Status
- Sports & Hobbies
Sometimes subtly, these become the diamonds in our lives without us even noticing and while there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these, when we over-value them, they become idols.
Your Reputation Precedes You
Maybe your reputation or your success has become your diamond.
We can put too much value on these too. Paul gave us a list of things that he once valued highly in his life:
Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. Philippians 3:4-6
Paul had all the right pedigrees. At one stage in his life, these were his diamonds and they seemed like good things.
In today’s world, this might translate as follows:
I was born into the right family with all the right connections. I am highly respected in even the most elite social circles. Also, my parents sent me to the very best private schools when I was a child. Later, I attended Harvard and graduated with honors. Upon entering the business world, I became an entrepreneur and shrewdly built a multimillion dollar empire that is widely respected on Wall Street. Everyone looks up to me and I am often sought after for my business acumen. I have written several books that are on the New York Times Bestseller List. Furthermore, I was recently listed as one of Fortune’s 100 richest people in America. I am completely confident in my ability to succeed at anything I do.
It is definitely easy to allow some or all of these things to become your diamonds.
The Encounter that Changes Everything
Until recently, I’ll admit that I had my priorities in life out of whack similar to Paul. However, just like him, I had an encounter that changed what I value most in my life.
Paul met Jesus in a very dramatic way on the road to Damascus. My encounter has been less climactic, but no less affecting.
Through meeting Jesus and becoming one of His followers, Paul’s list of diamonds changed strikingly. Here’s how he put it:
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. Philippians 3:7-8 NLT
So, this brings us back to my first question, what do you value most in your life? Based on what you’ve actually spent your time thinking about and doing, what are your diamonds?
Are you like I was? Do you need a fresh encounter with Jesus?
What Paul and I thought was so important, we both later realized was garbage compared to knowing Jesus and following Him.
It doesn’t matter whether it is your reputation, your success, your bank account, your hobbies or other worldly things you may be focused upon. Heck, even good health and family pales in comparison to the value there is in being a true Christ Follower!
If you’ve been frustrated with life, it is likely because your priorities are screwed up like mine were. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Is what you’ve been chasing actually garbage in comparison to knowing Jesus? Maybe it is time to seek Him first.
Has this message challenged you in any way today? Has it opened your eyes to anything?
If so, please leave a comment and let me know!