We can see a scene from the Bible where Gideon’s 300 warriors defeated 135,000 Midianites (Judges 7). When God was about to choose His warriors, 32,000 men gathered to fight at first. Although all of them were called to the battle against the Midianites, it was only 300 men who passed all of God’s tests and remained God’s warriors to the end. They were the ones who knew the value of being the members of God’s army.
If they had not known the value of God’s chosen warriors, they would not have tried so hard to go out into battle where they could die. 300 chosen men knew what was truly valuable; they were the most valuable people of the Israelites.
Today, we should know the value of the truth, so that we may remain in Zion and in Jerusalem to the end, as the offspring of the woman. There is a great difference between a person who knows the value of the truth and a person who does not know its value but just tries to imitate others. Jesus compared the former to a man who built his house of faith on the rock, and the latter to a man who built his house on sand.
Here is a story to show how important it is to know the value of something. In a village, there was an old man who lived alone and in poverty; all his children had moved out and were living well off in the United States. One day, a young man in that village, who felt pity for the old man, visited him to find out how he was doing. The old man showed him 100 dollar bills covering his doors and walls, saying that he had been receiving letters along with small pieces of paper from his children in the States every month. His children had sent quite a few hundred dollar bills to their father once a month, but he did not know the value of the dollar. To him, the bills were merely pieces of paper, which he used as window paper, as wallpaper or even as kindling.
Now, we need to examine ourselves to see whether or not we are taking the abundant grace of God rightly, without knowing the value of being God’s children and the value of our promised inheritance in heaven. Just like the old man who regarded the 100 dollar bills merely as pieces of paper, those who do not know the value cannot even realize the blessings they have already received and they will end up in difficulty.
We, who dwell in the truth, should know the value of the blessings given to us and keep our faith. Unless we realize the value of the truth and the value of the heavenly inheritance promised to us, we will lose our hope for heaven and even our confidence in the truth will be finally taken away by Satan.
I once participated in an event where there was a ceremony of letting balloons go up into the sky along with our wishes. As soon as all the participants released the balloons, counting, “One, two, three!” most of the balloons, filled with helium gas, which is lighter than air, began to rise up into the sky. However, some of them did not go up and swayed low in the air, and some seemed to fly but immediately fell down to the ground—they simply rolled on the ground, instead of rising into the sky.
Even though some people tried to make wind by waving their hands to let the balloons go up, the balloons did not rise up but just stayed on the ground. At that time, one of the participants tied ten balloons, which did not float, with a balloon full of helium together. Then the gas-filled balloon, along with the other ten balloons, gracefully flew up into the sky.
Looking at the various balloons flying up into the sky, I reflected on our faith and imagined ourselves rising up to heaven at the last day. I had thought that the balloons, which were inflated with helium, would all go up into the sky as soon as they were released, but after I saw some balloons not flying up, contrary to my expectation, I came to think that those who are not full of faith are just like the balloons that do not rise up into the sky. The balloon, which rose high along with another ten, reminded me of the leading members who were making efforts to guide our brothers and sisters to heaven.
Those who are full of faith will go straight up to heaven at the last day like a balloon full of helium, but those who are lacking in faith will scarcely rise up like a half-filled balloon. If we cannot run toward heaven, it is because that we are not full of faith, and if we are not filled with faith, it is proof that we do not fully know the value of the heavenly kingdom and the value of ourselves as the children of God.
We must realize the value of everything—the value of God’s kingdom, the value of ourselves as the children of God, and the value of the truth. By understanding all these values, we should fill ourselves with faith so that we can go straight up to heaven just like the balloons that rise up into the sky as soon as they are released, shouldn’t we? Until we completely understand the value of Zion, the value of the truth, and the value of the heavenly kingdom, we must continue studying God’s word.
Apostle Paul said that he would not exchange the right to become children of God for anything else in the world. That was because he knew how great the right to become God’s children was.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in. Ro 8:12-18
Those who know the value of the kingdom of heaven are temperate in all things. Since they know the value of God’s kingdom, how can they exchange it for worldly things? So the Bible says that those who know the value of the kingdom of God put to death the misdeeds of the body by the Spirit.
Apostle Paul knew the value of God’s kingdom, the value of being a child of God, and the value of the heavenly inheritance he would receive later. That was why he regarded his sufferings as nothing. When we do something without knowing its value, we will find it hard and painful to do it, but when we know the value, nothing will trouble or afflict us anymore.
Though Paul underwent innumerable sufferings on his preaching trips, even being flogged and beaten severely, he endured all those hardships and performed his mission to the end. It was because he knew the value of the kingdom of God. Since he realized that the kingdom of God was a place where he would have to go despite all the pain and suffering, he was able to overcome all kinds of troubles and hindrances, wasn’t he?
Knowing the value of something is a spiritual realization. When we realize the value of God the Most High, the value of the glorious kingdom of heaven, the value of Zion, and the value of the truth, we will be filled with faith and go to the eternal kingdom of heaven, just like the helium-filled balloons rise up into the sky.
Let us think about the value of everything God has given us. How glorious Zion is! How precious each and every command of God is! How great the value of being able to realize Father and Mother is! How precious the value of the truth is! While realizing all these values every day, we should walk the path of faith.
We often hear from elderly people that there was a time in Korean history when a strong man was regarded as one of the greatest men in society and whenever people met together, they boasted of being acquainted with such a strong man.
Worldly people are proud of knowing powerful people. However, we boast that God is with us. Can anything be more boast-worthy than this?
2,000 years ago, the apostles believed the value of the name of Jesus, and that was why they put forth their strength to lift up His name. When people asked, “What must we do to be saved?” they replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus.” They proclaimed courageously the name of Christ. In those days, most people saw Jesus as merely a carpenter’s son, not as God Himself. However, the apostles knew the value of the name of Jesus and trusted in His name for all things: “Receive the forgiveness of sins through the name of Jesus.” “Repent in the name of Jesus.” “Be saved by depending on the name of Jesus.” Thus, they considered the name of Jesus mighty and proclaimed His name valuably.
Now, we, too, should understand how high and great our God is, and boldly proclaim His name to the world.
The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, … The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” … Ac 16:27-34
Today, if we know the value of God, we should confidently tell people, “Believe in the Spirit and the Bride,” in any circumstances, just as Paul and Silas did. If we, people of Zion, have realized the great glory of God, we have to boldly proclaim God, our Savior, to everyone.
In the days of the early Church, when the saints told people to believe in Jesus, they made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” At that time, it was a generally accepted idea that God could never come as a man. Even under this situation, those who knew the value of Christ reclaimed all the wild land and built a road through the wilderness.
Now we are under the same situation. As the pioneers and prophets in the age of the Holy Spirit, we are preaching that God has come to this earth. If we know the true value, we should consider the truth of the new covenant precious and keep it, and should also proclaim the value of the kingdom of heaven among the nations and reveal the glory of God, who has come as the Spirit and the Bride, to the whole world.
Without knowing the value of the kingdom of heaven, we cannot have faith. Without having faith, we cannot rise up like the balloons which do not have sufficient helium. We should first understand the value of all spiritual things, so that we may have faith great enough to lead others to heaven rather than to be led by them.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mt 28:18-20
God has entrusted us with the mission of the gospel—the most valuable work in the world. He has given us a great mission to go to Samaria and to the ends of the earth and to preach the gospel to all six billion people. This shows how much God values us.
One of our brothers once told me that he deeply thanked God for giving him a job, when he saw many people on the street, who had to leave their homes after losing their jobs during the IMF crisis. If God entrusts a man with a job, it means that He considers him to be worthy of the job.
If we preach God’s word without knowing its value, we cannot bear God-pleasing fruit. God has put us in circumstances to do His work. This shows how much God values us. Keeping it in mind, we should preach while realizing its value and take the lead in the gospel work.
Nowadays, many salary workers take a great interest in the lottery. They chase a rose-colored dream that once they win, they can live comfortably all the rest of their lives without going to work. Whenever they meet together, they talk about the lottery.
Please do not think that I am giving an example of the lottery to incite gambling. I hope all our members in Zion will continue to lead an honest life in God as you do now. In the book of Genesis, God already said that man should eat his food by the sweat of his brow. An unearned income devastates our moral fiber. Expecting a windfall, we may fail to realize the true value of life.
Seeing their enthusiasm for the lottery, I believe that when we preach the gospel, we should proclaim the value of the truth more clearly and enthusiastically. Can the value of the truth be compared with that of the lottery? If a man wins the lottery, he may be able to enjoy some things on earth just for a while. However, what if he accepts the truth and becomes a child of God? He will receive his reward prepared in heaven and possess it forever and ever. Indeed, the spiritual world God has made known to us has true meaning and value.
Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals ; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken. There the LORD will be our Mighty One … . For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us … . No one living in Zion will say, “I am ill”; and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven. Isa 33:20-24
God has promised salvation to the people living in Zion where God’s appointed feasts are celebrated. It is only in Zion that we can have the forgiveness of sins and receive the promised blessings which enable us to return to the eternal heavenly kingdom. How can the value of Zion be compared with that of anything else in the world?
Zion is the place where God is with us. That is why it is much more valuable. In Zion, the city of God’s appointed feasts, God is working for our salvation. He teaches us that the invisible things of the spiritual world are far more valuable than those of the visible, physical world. Keeping this teaching of God in mind, let us proclaim the truly valuable things to people in the world.
We have received the invaluable things from God, which cannot be compared with anything else on the earth: God’s commands which are more precious than pure gold, our Father who has come to this earth as the Spirit, our Mother the heavenly Jerusalem who is with us as the Bride of the Spirit, our brothers and sisters in Zion—the city of God’s appointed feasts, and much more. Let us examine ourselves to see if our voice is feeble and unclear in preaching the most valuable things. As gospel workers, let us realize the value of all these things and proclaim louder the most valuable things to the people of the world, so that we may glorify Father and Mother and lead all people to heaven.