Value Choices

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Every day we make choices concerning what is valuable to us. While we sometimes would like to have different values, what we choose really indicates what our values are. The big question is “Are my values really the real value?”

A couple of months ago a 17-year-old Chinese teenager, known as Little Zheng, had a kidney removed surgically so he could have money to buy a new Apple iPad. He was paid $3,000 for his kidney. He valued the iPad more than his kidney. When his mother found it out she said, “I felt like the sky was crashing down on our family.”

Football oftentimes is too big a value for those of us living in the bounds of the Southeastern Conference. (That is a dangerous statement to make.) Football is important, but oftentimes we get the value scale out of balance.

Just a warning early in football season; putting too much value on football can be detrimental to your health and even kill you.

Researchers at the University of Southern California examined how the Los Angeles Rams’ fans reacted about how the Rams fared in the Super Bowls of 1980 and 1984. When the Rams lost the first game, cardiac deaths spiked by 15 percent in men, 27 percent in women, and 22 percent in seniors. When the Rams won four years later, the death rates didn’t budge.

Robert Kloner, the study’s lead author, suggests that when too much emphasis is placed on how a football team performs “it can increase a fan’s pulse rate, raise blood pressure and potentially trigger a cardiac event.”

Some young people can teach us some good values about how we handle money. Allan Guei had such good grades in High School that it earned him the right to compete in a free-throw contest for a $40,000 college scholarship. He won the contest. He also received a basketball scholarship to college so he donated the $40,000 to the seven runners-up in the free-throw contest. He said, “I’ve already been blessed so much and I know we are living with a bad economy. This money can really help my classmates.” Good value.

Ashley Donaldson is 15-years-old and found $2,000 in a parking lot in Dallas, Texas. Police told her it would be hers if no one claimed it within three months. When the money was unclaimed, the city changed its mind and kept the money. Ashley was happy with that decision. When an unnamed donor found it out he gave Ashley $4,000, then the city reconsidered giving the teen the $2,000. I have a hunch she will give that away.

What value choices are we making today? What value do we place on the way we spend our time and energy and money? Technology and iPads are important – but not as important as our health. Football is important – but not as important as our health. Money is important – but not as important as our attitude and commitment to giving.

Remember Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything you need will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

That is the priceless value choice!

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