If you’re a football fan you’ll probably be surprised to hear that Lionel Messi is leaving Barcelona, and it looks as if Paris Saint-German will be the fortunate team he’ll be joining to display his incredible skills. I wonder how much they will have to pay for him? I don’t think the Qatari funded PSG will care. After all, they’ve already been involved in the two most expensive transfers in football history, €220 million for Neymar and €180 million for Kylian Mbappe. That’s a lot of money to spend on people whose skills revolve around kicking a ball. I wonder how much Messi will be worth?
Two Argentine grain traders, Jorge and Juan Born were kidnapped by terrorists and a ransom was paid to free them. How much was paid? In 1974 when it happened, the ransom was $64 million which today would be $293 million. That’s the most expensive ransom ever paid and that’s the considered worth of the two brothers to their company. The most shocking ransom story I’ve come across is that of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III, grandson of one of the world’s richest men. His captors demanded a $17 million ransom for the boy. When that price wasnt met, Getty’s captors cut off one of the teen’s ears and mailed it to the Italian press. When the kidnappers reduced the price to $3 million, the Getty family paid. Patriarch John Paul Getty reportedly paid only $2.2 million himself, which was the maximum amount that would be tax-deductible, while his son paid for the rest. Poor John Paul doesn’t seem to have been considered of great value to his grandfather.
If my footballing skills were required today I’d be worth about £1.50, although in my prime that would have been closer to £4.50. If I was kidnapped how much would my ransom be? That depends on who is expected or willing to pay. I’m confident that my wife would want me back although she may choose to have a brief holiday first before paying the ransom.
How much is a person really worth? Does it vary depending on who is the person? Am I worth more than the postman who’s just made my dog bark yet again? Am I worth less than Ant and Dec whose popularity never seems to wane? The truth is we’re only worth what someone is willing to pay. What if to save someone we had to give up our own life? It does happen and the Bible recognises it. We can read, “No one is really willing to die for an honest person, though someone might be willing to die for a truly good person.” (1) That’s true Isn’t it? We know of wonderful examples of lives being sacrificed for what is considered a noble cause. What about our souls? If our souls were in mortal danger, is there anyone who would or could pay the price? What if the price wasn’t money but something far greater? People have willingly died to save someone they considered worth it, but still, can they save someone’s soul? Can they rescue a person from eternal loss? The answer is no. The Bible says, “No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them — the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough.” (2) No man or woman can ever pay the price required to save a soul.
That leaves us in an impossible situation. We can be worth millions or billions to the right people, whether it’s for our skills or our lives. People may want us enough or love us enough to give all they have, but they can’t save our souls. They can do nothing about our eternal future, and we can do nothing about it but God can, and he has. The Bible verse above, about someone dying for a good person, continues and says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (3) Even though it was man who rebelled against God leading to our separation from him, potentially for all eternity, it is God who has provided a way back to him, the saving of our souls. That salvation is through his Son, Jesus, who died for us paying the ultimate price to bring us back to God. Whether we find a way back to God though is entirely up to us. God provides salvation but he doesn’t force us to choose it. We can reject Jesus if we want but that will lead to eternal loss. Alternatively, we can accept God’s salvation through Jesus when our souls will be saved and we will live happily for eternity. It isn’t nonsense, as some might say, neither is it a pipe dream. God’s salvation is real and yours if you want it.
- Romans 8:7
- Psalm 49:7,8
- Romans 8:8