One of the most painful realizations in life, is to all of a sudden discover that you had possessed things all along that you were busy looking for somewhere else. It is almost an unbearable pain to suddenly recognize the value of what you had being ignorant of, which had been in your possession. To possess something and not know its value is torturous. To own something and not be aware of it could not only be annoying, but fatal too.
LIFE – Life is undoubtedly the most valuable and the most precious of all our earthly possessions. Surely nobody is arguing about that. There is simply nothing of comparable value to life. When life is lost, all is lost. When all is lost but life, really nothing is lost. Life is head and shoulders above all other things we regard as precious in this world.
Tragically though, it is that same life that is often least treasured or valued by men who possess it. All men have life, but only few men know its value. To have something does not mean to understand it. Most people who possess life in reality do not quite understand what they possess. That is a fundamental tragedy about life. Those who possess it often are not aware of its value.
“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” – Aristotle
I remember growing up in Africa. I would normally accompany my grandmother to collect some cassava tubers from the farm. We usually had the sack where the cassava is loaded. The challenge of the day after the main job has been done, is always how to tie up the sack, so that it doesn’t spill as we carry it on our head through the more than a kilometer walk back home. Some of the local ropes we make from leaves and other plants are not often as reliable to secure the neck of the sack.
Help came calling from an unusual angle. My grandmother while searching through some of the personal belongings of my uncle, who just came back from studying in France and in England, discovered some rather reliable ropes that served us well at the end of the day. The only problem was as we later discovered, the so called ropes that we had used for the past three years tying our sacks, and bringing home our cassava tubers, were later recognized as some Exclusive French Ties, that my uncle had brought from his years of sojourn in Europe.
He had left them in the village in hope that his younger ones would appreciate them, as they leave the village to travel to study in colleges, universities or even overseas. But since I was as ignorant as my old grandmother, none of us quite understood the meaning of his kind gesture. We had some highly prized possessions in those ties, but due to ignorance, the ties soon became totally unrecognizable because of dirt and smell from the local farm.
Unfortunately that is how most of us have treated life – our lives!!! We have just all of a sudden discovered that here we are, with something called life seemingly precious, but not deeply appreciated. So we end up treating it the way we deem fit.
“So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom”. Ps. 90:12
Whenever you possess something, but lack the understanding of its value, there are some consequences you suffer:
1. YOU NEGLECT THE TREASURE
Just like in the story we just read, because I and my grandmother did not know what ties were, those ties had suffered negligence, long before they were taken to the farm. The same thing with life. Most people do not take care of their lives, because they don’t value life. Most people neglect their lives and allow all kinds of accidents, mishaps and misfortunes to happen to them. Neglect is a major reason for some of the most painful experiences we suffer in life. In some cases we neglect our health, because we were never told about its value. Some neglect their virginity and are made to pay dearly for it.
For example when I came to Europe, to me it was a great escape – the great escape from poverty. Since I grew up in a condition where I could not afford to buy myself a bottle of juice or coca cola while in Africa. I basically could afford only water. As a result, juice and coca cola was a luxury.
On getting to Europe, I discovered that there were so many varieties of soft drinks and juices that I had never ever seen or dreamed about before. My conclusion was simple and straight forward. I decided to embark on a journey of vengeance for all the years of my deprivation, I made a decision to let go of water. For the next seven years I did not bother to drink a cup of water. I was filling my system and body with all kinds of sweet and sugar drinks in the name of avenging poverty.
The only thing that made me to realize that I was on a suicidal path, was thanks to my involuntary visit to the doctor. Where I was confronted with the fact that water actually was a lifeline, which every human must drink two liters of daily.
My health suffered neglect. My life was in danger, just because I did not know the value of water. I didn’t know the importance of water to my very life. I almost lost my most precious value – Life, because of ignorance and negligence. So many of us are causing pain and suffering to ourselves on daily basis, because we do not know the value of life.
2. OTHERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU
Another consequence of not knowing the value of what you possess in this case the value of life, is that there would be some other people around you that will better understand what you possess. While you are playing Cinderella with your life, they will keep toying with your life. This happens mainly with ladies. To an ignorant lady, she wants to look attractive and beautiful while some conscienceless men prey on her life. Such stories abound worldwide. Girls dropping out of school because of early and unwanted pregnancies. The reason? They did not realize the value they possess in their body.
Today, human trafficking has become a modern day monster. Nations and governments don’t seem to be able to cope with the challenge. Close to a million people are trafficked across international borders every year mainly for sexual exploitation. Eighty percent of them are female. The menace of human trafficking continues to endure only because, there are some heartless men who are taking advantage of the lives and bodies of their gullible victims.
Unfortunately, most of the victims or their relatives in most cases voluntarily agree. The challenge here is that, the families of these victims and the victims themselves have not realized the full value of the life they possess.
“For he who would love life and see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.” 1 Peter 3:10
3. YOU ABUSE YOUR LIFE
Smoking is a worldwide problem, almost in every nation and culture. The fight against this menace is so comprehensive that, even the very same package of cigarettes now carry warning to its potential victims. Nevertheless, nothing has seemed to work in the fight against smoking. More and more number of youths and adults get addicted to nicotine on daily basis. While the whole world is struggling to help people get their freedom from the dangers of smoking, yet the over five million people, who yearly die from smoking still voluntarily head towards that deadly part. It is not other people who make them to smoke, it is mostly a voluntary decision.
How do we explain such a paradox? The explanation is simple. When we possess something without knowing its value, we abuse it. When we as human beings, are trusted with life, but lack the value thereof, we are only left with one thing – Abuse!
In the case of these smokers, this abuse leads to sicknesses, cancer, amputation, and losses of all kinds and worse of all, death. To possess something without the corresponding knowledge, is extremely dangerous indeed.
4. YOU SUFFER LOSS
Whenever you own something without a corresponding knowledge of the possession, you eventually lose it. If you give a five thousand dollar diamond ring to a two year old child, sooner or later, that child is going to lose the treasure. Even though you could have meant well, yet the child would misplace the diamond.
It is obvious because, that child doesn’t know the value of a diamond ring. He might just be seeing it as another playing toy. Besides, the child does not know the value of money yet, which means five thousand dollars does not seem to be anything to him. That lack of value sense would deprive the child from a protective instinct which could have applied in this case.
Instinctively, we naturally want to guard or protect something we view as precious. But when we don’t see the value, we don’t put the protective edge. The same thing goes with life. On a daily basis, people lose their lives, they lose their health, they lose their families, and they lose their children, only because they refuse to have a corresponding knowledge to what they possess in hand. POSSESSION WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING LEADS TO LOSS.
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” -Charles Darwin
5. THE CONSEQUENCE OF DEATH
Death is another inevitable consequence of possessing something without its understanding. What you don’t understand you cannot treasure. What you cannot understand you don’t treasure. This explains the reason for suicide. It explains the reason for abortion. It explains the reason for drug abuse and overdose. It explains the reason for alcohol addiction. People kill themselves, people destroy their lives, just because they have not come to the full realization of the essence of life.
Too many people die early, either tragically or natural death, because they did not treat their lives with any sense of value. Most of the deaths before seventy years old in our world could actually be prevented, if the various individuals had only treated their lives with more caution and sense of value.
Too many people die in our world today because they don’t eat well, rest well, play well and live well.
“For me, no ideological or political conviction would justify the sacrifice of a human life. For me, the value of life is absolute, with no concessions. It’s not negotiable.” – Edgar Ramirez
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja.