Warren Buffett's first job was selling chewing gum and Coke bottles. On his first income tax return, he took a $35 deduction for the use of his bicycle and watch on his paper route. He first bought stock at the age of 11. At the age of 14, he bought a 40-acre farm worked by a tenant farmer.
That was then, this is now. Buffett has made headlines this week with his $32 billion acquisition of Precision Castparts Corp., a company that makes parts for the aerospace industry, power stations, and the oil-and-gas industry. Let's put this in perspective.
$32 billion stacked as one dollar bills would reach nine times higher than the orbiting International Space Station. Stacked end-to-end, it would circle the Earth 128 times. It would be the 97th-largest economy in the world (out of 194), according to the CIA. Precision Castparts must be an amazing company to be worth such a staggering sum.
I'm tempted to draw a spiritual comparison between Warren Buffett's purchase and Jesus' atonement, making the point that God values you infinitely more than Mr. Buffett can value his most valuable commodity. In a sense that's true, of course. The Father considered your eternal life worth the tortured death of his Son: "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
However, I recently discovered a spiritual insight that dramatically changed the way I look at God's love for me. It's so life-changing that I have expanded on it in a manuscript you can read here on our website. For today, I'll give you the short version.
In a recent First15 devotional, Craig Denison made a point I had never considered before. He was writing on John 17, where Jesus prayed for his followers on Maundy Thursday. In verse 23, our Savior prayed that we "may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you have loved me." Craig noted that the end of Jesus' statement is literally translated, "loved them to the same degree that you have loved me." In other words, the Father loves you as much as he loves his Son. (Tweet this)
That is a thought I had never thought. That the Lord of the universe loves me as much as he loves Jesus is beyond comprehension. But it's exactly what Jesus says in his prayer.
Why does he love us this much? Because "God is love" (1 John 4:8). He loves us because his nature requires him to love us. He loves us because he loves us. Therefore, he must love you as much as he loves Billy Graham or a faithful missionary or even his only Son.
There is much more to this remarkable insight, which is why I encourage you to read my larger article. For now, let's close with a statement Brennan Manning quotes in his classic Abba's Child: "Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. God's love for you and his choice of you constitute your worth. Accept that, and let it become the most important thing in your life."
Before reading this Cultural Commentary, how would you have defined yourself? How will you now?
Publication date: August 11, 2015
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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Read today's First15 at www.first15.org.