How much are you worth?
Cyndi and I just returned from a vacation in Arizona. One of the highlights was our visit to the Grand Canyon. We often use the term “breathtaking”…sometimes too lightly. But this is one of those moments when, literally, it took my breath away. So beautiful, so massive, so impossible to describe with words. Even pictures fail to do it justice.
We walked the “Trail of Time” along the south rim. This is a 2.8-mile walk designed to take you on an imaginary journey back into the mists of time. According to geologists, the canyon has been two billion years in the making. Two BILLION. And to underscore this point, the Trail of Time has metal markers every meter…for two miles. And every one of those metal markers (they looked like pennies to me) represents 1 MILLION years. One meter…one MILLION years. And we passed 2,000 of those one-million-year markers…a journey representing two billion years.
I stood over one of those one-meter sections, just a little longer than a good stride, and tried to place myself within that enormous time span. I knelt down, turned my thumbnail sideways, and calculated, “Is THIS how long my life represents in the context of one million years? A nail width? Less?” Then… I set that alongside the other 1.999 billion years represented on that trail. What am I? A wisp? A breath?
James in his letter reminded the scattered Christians of this: “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14) That is what I experienced as I knelt down, holding my thumbnail to the asphalt of the trail.
And then, I was struck by this thought: I, an insignificant speck in geological time, am of infinite worth to the God who created all of this. I was reminded of the psalmist who exclaimed, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4) It is hard to fathom that inconsequential beings such as ourselves are, in fact, the pinnacle of God’s creation. That he adores us and has expressed that adoration by coming to visit the very earth he created, by subjecting himself to our misuse and abuse, by allowing us to ravage our visiting king and yet, choosing to forgive, redeem, restore us, and commission us to his service.
Who can fathom such things? Who can imagine that beings as tiny and ephemeral as we could, in fact, be the centerpiece…the raison d’etre…of all of the rest of this magnificent backdrop we call earth? And yet, that is precisely what the Bible declares. You…are…precious to Almighty God. Bask in that for this moment.
Pastor Mark Toone
Photos by Daniel Varga, Unsplash and Google Images