The beautiful Guatemalan girls gasped for air as I crumbled up the crisp, 200 quetzales bill ($26 USD). This was more money than any of these 50 girls had ever owned in their lifetime. Some of their reactions produced tears as I stomped on the 200 quetzales bill making it dirty and muddy from my shoes. Almost every one of them nearly came out of their seats as my last act of destroying this bill was attempted. Holding up the muddy, wrinkled piece of paper worth more than they could ever dream of having in their life, I began to tear it in half. The anticipation of this dreadful act soon diminished as they fell lifelessly back into their chairs with there heads hung low.
That one bill could have fed their entire family for a month. Their sick sibling could have used it for medical treatment. Their neighborhood friend could have used it to pay for school fees so they could learn to read too.
The silence was thick in the air as I revealed the bill in my hand. Only a small tare near the top meant it was still usable.
Then I asked,…..
"When I crumbled this bill, did it lose its value?"
"When I stomped on this bill with my muddy shoes, did it lose its value?"
"When I ripped a small tear in the bill, did it lose its value?"
Collectively, the girls responded, "No."
Next, I asked, "If I were to offer this bill to you, would you still take it even though it's not clean, crisp, and new?" Of course, the reaction is what anyone would say, "Yes! We can buy food for our family and maybe something for ourselves."
As I read James 1:18, I thought of this illustration we used. "God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things He made."
The creator of the universe formed us from the dust. He formed you in your mother's womb and gave you life. He made you because He loves you and you are valuable. God doesn't make mistakes.
Just like that 200 quetzales bill doesn't lose its value, you don't lose your value either. Some of you may look at your past and all you can see is a life crumbled by those who have hurt you, trampled on by people's words, and dirty due to your own unwise decisions. The truth is that we all have pasts like that….pasts we are not proud to share. Jesus died on the cross….beaten, trampled on, bruised and spat upon so that we could take our past to Him and He could say… "It is done. I have thrown it all as far as the east is from the west."
You have always been valuable. You will always be valuable.
None of those shameful things in your past have caused you to lose value. You are still the most important thing that God has ever made. You still have value in His eyes. Don't let your past determine your future. YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN VALUABLE, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE VALUABLE. God has so many wonderful things He can use you for in the future, just like that 200 uetzales bill can still be used to provide so much relief to people's lives.
One day, God may use you to share a story in your past that once brought you pain to administer hope to someone who feels hopeless. Be bold.
“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”