Please read (or at least scroll) to the bottom of this update to see important prayer requests and announcements, including movement of our Kids’ Sabbath School to outdoors, and adding a day of free Covid testing at our church parking lot!
Anaheim SDA church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
January 19th, 2022
“Do not give dogs what is holy; do not cast your pearls before swine” Matthew 7:6
While driving to the Anaheim church last week, I noticed one of the billboards near my exit had been changed to advertise Rolex watches. I was surprised to see such a luxury item advertised in such a way and place – usually I only see ads for them when watching Wimbledon or something! But I guess the company figures there are people driving in this area who can drop between $7,000 and $75,000 on a watch that basically does the same functions a $30 or $50 version would. I figured someone thought that there was more to gain than to lose in investing the money for the billboard (around $3,000/month I learned – I guess selling a single watch could pay for it!).
A basic rule in advertising, or any industry of capitalism for that matter, is ‘get more out of it than you put into it’. All factories and business have to estimate what costs will be incurred for raw materials, labor, shipping, advertising, and renting/buying/building the place to make/sell it in. All those costs are built into the retail prices we pay! I remember once seeing a semi truck for Pepsi unloading at a gas station, and thought “Boy, fizzy sugar water pays for that truck, its maintenance, the driver, the gas, the tires, the factory, everything!” I marveled that such businesses could be viable at a buck a pop (literally!).
Does God’s love, and the plan of salvation, fit the economic mantra of ‘get out more than you put in’? Think of it: according to John 3:16, God the Father, in so much love for our fallen and pitiable planet, gave up His most precious, valuable, and irreplaceable resource, His only begotten Son, for the chance* to save us. Did God stand to gain from this transaction? Certainly not financially – but what other marker is there? For a chance to save a portion of a fallen race that had rebelled against Him? You could easily make the case (even from here on earth) that it’s not worth it! Just let humanity go! It’d be so much easier to!
This whole thing makes us consider our worth in God’s sight. We are made in His image, yet fallen into corruption. So are we great? Or terrible? I guess the answer is: some of both! But God evidently believes that the ‘terrible’ in us is resolvable, redeemable enough to make this great exchange worth it.
So, what is Jesus meaning in the verse quoted above, to not give dogs or pigs what is sacred or valuable? Is he simply talking literally? We believe that, no, he is not. He continues “lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” But isn’t that exactly what the majority of humanity did, and continues to do, with God’s salvation?
I, for one, continue to marvel that God and Jesus would choose to implement and follow-through on the plan of salvation. From our estimation, we are not worth it. But from His (far greater) estimation, we apparently are! While this boggles the mind to behold, our correct, and even necessary response, is one of continued gratitude.
We constantly spend our days briefly evaluating what is worth spending time and money on. God, in His great consideration, finds us worthy of investment, of time, attention, resources, you name it! Simultaneously considering our paradoxical worth is something that’s built into Christianity, I guess.
God has not given me a Rolex thus far, but he has described us as jewels! (Malachi 3:17 KJV/NKJV). We are most precious in His sight. I pray you’ll take that great truth with you wherever you go this week. And don’t let any beloved children of God forget it! I’d put it on a billboard if I could afford it. :-p
Pr. Mark Tatum
* Whether or not there was an actual risk involved in God sending Jesus to earth is subject to some theological debate. Could Jesus have possibly failed? Ellen White has some comments on the matter, I preached on them in a sermon a while back called “Our Sacrificial God”, which is on our sister church’s, the (Orange SDA Church’s) YouTube page. See the 35-minute mark for some of those quotes.