The Value of a Man

The Value of a Man

“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” —Luke 12:15

A man had come to our Lord because he felt his brother had shafted him out of the family inheritance. He was hoping Jesus would speak to his brother about this injustice. The Lord chose to teach this man a very important truth: a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. He was saying to the man, “Don’t allow treasure or toys to be what defines you. If the amount of treasure you possess defines you, then you will always feel inferior around those that have more than you.”

Possessions and purse are a low standard of self-worth. Thieves have possessions and purse but lack integrity. A man does not have to be a thief to have a covetous heart. This seems to be the problem with the young man who came to Jesus. The Lord would challenge this man and all who were within earshot of His message to have a higher standard of self-worth.

Remember, Job was able to lose all he had and yet not lose his self-worth: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him” (Job 13:15). When you can appreciate a good conscience as much as you do a full pocketbook, you won’t be ruled by a covetous heart.

A man with great personal character, one who is teachable, honest, humble, hardworking, responsible, charitable, courageous, cooperative, and compassionate, will never lack for work. He is too valuable. He may lose his job; he may get laid off, but the quality of his character makes him valuable to any company. These kinds of people are hard to find when you’re hiring because they’re already working. They will get paid well for their skill set and character, but it’s not the money that makes them valuable; it’s them!

The blessing is that we can all choose to be men of great value regardless of the money we have in the bank. If we choose to be men of integrity, we are on the road to great value. People want to be around, and especially hire, people they can trust. Strive for that kind of value. I heard one man say, “If I have to live with myself, I might as well keep good company!”

I was told about a young man who had gotten in trouble and was told he couldn’t watch TV for two weeks without his parents’ permission. He was allowed to watch with his parents, and on one particular evening, his dad and he were watching a program that had a timer set to shut the movie off if the viewer fell asleep. As it happened, the dad fell asleep before the young man did. The timer then came on the screen and said, “Press ‘Yes’ if you want to continue watching.” The boy looked over at his dad and then looked at the screen and thought, It wouldn’t hurt anybody, and nobody would know if I pressed “Yes.” But, then another thought came to his mind: It is still wrong if I press “Yes.” So, he turned it off.

At that moment, his value increased as a young man. He may not have been fully aware of the impact of that decision, but his act of integrity proved him to be trustworthy. These little deeds of choosing the difficult right over the easy wrong are what form our character and determine our true value.


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