Priceless or worthless: Who determines your value?


Priceless or worthless: Who determines your value?

We bought her for $13,000 in 2004. Our last “debt” car before we discovered Dave Ramsey and revolutionized our thinking about finances.

We signed up for a bank loan with the justification that the car dealership made a mistake and listed it for far lower than it was worth on the market.

I drove her for 13 years. Carpooling to school, ballet and theatre rehearsals, road trips to Wyoming and South Dakota—we shared many fond memories as a family.

When we paid the debt off early, we used our newfound freedom to move across the country so that Doug could be a part of what Ramsey Solutions’ work to offer hope to everyone who struggles financially.

With most of our household goods in a moving truck, Doug and I loaded two non-enthusiastic teenagers and a disgruntled cat into “the Vue,” as we lovingly called her, and drove her across the country, to the place where she was made.

Later on, I spoke with people who’d worked at the GM plant in Spring Hill, back when it was a Saturn plant. One said she put the roofs on them that year. Others had assembled various other parts.

One of our daughters wanted to listen to the radio one morning while waiting for me to give her a ride. Despite not ever learning how to drive a manual transmission, she got into the driver’s seat of the Vue, which sat in the driveway in front of the closed garage door. Then she turned the key and pressed down on the gas pedal. What we heard inside sounded like a bomb going off.

When my husband and I stepped into the garage to see what the commotion was, our distraught daughter sat in the passenger seat of the Vue, now inside the garage and surrounded by the mangled garage door. Both cars were now trapped in the garage under the garage door and said daughter screamed hysterically for at least five minutes.

And that’s why the radio hasn’t worked on the Vue for the last several years, because the antenna broke off on impact with the garage door.

I knew the day would come when we’d have to replace her. Cars don’t last forever. That day came a few months ago when we took her in for repairs. But those repairs were estimated to cost more than she was worth. A lot more.

So we searched and researched, test driving and poring over consumer reviews, until we found the one. A beautiful car, nice beyond anything we could have imagined ourselves paying cash for when we bought the Vue. (That’s what happens when you follow the baby steps!)

And then my husband put an ad on Craigslist to sell the Vue. Despite my excitement over a new car, how could I just hand my girl—the one who’d taken us through so much—over to a stranger for a paltry sum?

I felt silly, sitting in the driver’s seat of the Vue for the last time, shedding tears over a car. But she wasn’t just a car. She carried my babies, along with some of my most treasured memories, and her leaving underscored the end of an era.

The ad hadn’t been posted for an hour when we got a response. A man eager to pay just what we asked handed over an envelope full of cash as soon as he returned from the test drive.

As he left, he shook my hand with a twinkle in his eye. “Don’t worry. I’ll give her a good home.”

I watched from the upstairs window as he took her away, arms crossed and swallowing the lump in my throat.

She was worth more than the wad of cash sitting on the counter to me. Worth more than some figure in Kelly Blue Book.

Interesting how value changes with perspective, isn’t it?

Even more important than a car’s worth (and yes, I still feel silly for being so sentimental over a car) is the worth of each of us who bear the image of God.

Priceless or worthless: Who determines your value? Our worth, in human terms, is determined by what we can give to others or how much we can help them. Our worth is determined by a number in a bank account or on the scale. Our worth is determined by how successful, beautiful, or popular we are.

In human terms.

But God doesn’t see us like some jalopy who’s seen better days. He sees us like the unique and special creations He knitted together in our mother’s womb.

It’s easy to forget that as we go about our daily lives, striving to accomplish and please and become and do.

Sometimes we need a reminder that we’re loved beyond measure, worth the ultimate sacrifice and known from the deepest core of our being.

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