Increasingly, our value appears to depend on what we earn per hour, plus what we have accrued, minus our debts. Such a view represents the principle of commodification – where people or things are treated as acquired, or marketed, as commodities. For example, do you regard your time as a ‘precious commodity’? What attitude sneaks in when we think this way? There becomes a greater rationalisation of how we ‘spend’ our time, which can lead to judging whether a certain person or group is ‘worth’ our time. And so we commodify ourselves and each other, as do our employers, our banks, our social groups etc.
As a Christian, I have grown up with the value of intrinsic worth. I am valued beyond price because I am loved for who I am, independent of how valuable and productive I may be. It’s called ‘grace’ and it’s as attractive a concept as it is hard to accept. I know my flaws and shortcomings and yet that doesn’t change things. I am still deeply loved for who I am by God. I choose to live out of this world view as much as I can, which means passing on this attitude of grace to everyone else too. That’s not always easy, but it reminds me I’m not always easy to love either.
As your Community Chaplain, I offer you an ear (and a coffee) when things are tough, as free of judgement as I can humanly muster. And I will value you as a person, not as a commodity.
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. 1 John 4:7 (NLT)
(Maybe it isn’t just a recent problem according to this BC proverb: ‘A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.’ Proverbs 31:10 (NIV))
First published in The Village Observer May 2015.