The Value Equation

xboxI am a single mother of an 8 year old boy. Not too long ago he told me he wanted an Xbox for Christmas. I know a lot of kids his age, including some of his friends and cousins, have gaming consoles. I’m still not prepared to spend what I feel is a considerable amount of money on a child’s gift. My son has many positive attributes. He’s well mannered, funny, inquisitive, optimistic, and full of energy. Despite his many strengths, he’s also irresponsible. I have to remind him to wash his face, use lotion, clean his room, bring his jacket home from school, stop rushing through homework, clean the table after he’s eaten, etc. I suppose these are things all children have to be reminded of and shouldn’t be used to say he is undeserving of an Xbox. I’m just not sure. I guess my fear is that since he doesn’t take care of the little things, he won’t take care of something on a larger scale either. I’ve already heard a friend complain her son has lost some of his games. Thus far my answer isn’t necessarily no, just not right now.

tabletI don’t subscribe to Netflix nor do I watch DVDs for this purchase to benefit me. Another friend with children my son’s age offered an alternative which I may pursue. A tablet can be loaded with more educational games than what we’d likely purchase for an Xbox. It’s also less expensive and something I may be able to employ during the times he is on punishment from its use.

He already has a Nintendo DS. He loves that thing more so than any of his other toys. Children and adults share something in common. We treasure what’s important to us. It is that which we we are willing to invest in. My son may forget to bring his jacket home from school, but he wouldn’t dare leave his Nintendo DS behind. It holds more value to him.

anointJohn 12 records the story of Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointing Jesus’ feet with a pound of expensive, fragrant oil. Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 disciples, complained that the oil could have been sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor instead. A denarius was the equivalent of a working man’s daily wage, therefore, 300 denarii would represent about one year’s salary. Interestingly, once Judas found an opportune time to betray Jesus, he did so for 30 pieces of silver (representing the price of a slave according to Exodus 21:32). John MacArthur writes in his book Twelve Ordinary Men, “The contrast is staggering: Our Lord is anointed with overwhelming love by Mary and betrayed with overwhelming hate by Judas at the same time.”

A comparison between the actions of Mary and Judas cause me to question, what is it worth? My son wants an Xbox, so maybe I’ll ask him what he’s willing to do to work for it. Likewise, when I find myself unhappy in a situation, I need to ask myself what I’m willing to do to change things. Mary and Judas knew the truth about who Jesus was yet they had very different responses. This also reminds me to not be disappointed with how others treat me. People are capable of anything. The same mouth that blesses the Lord also curses people who were made in His image (James 3:9). It would be wise for me to take heed to the way I’m treated because it likely reflects how much that individual values me.count