When I was born, there was none of the “planned obsolescence” that we hear about today. When you bought a car, you owned it until either the engine died or you couldn’t drive it anymore. The same was true of clothing: if you bought a new shirt and lost a button, you would take a needle and thread and sew a new button on the shirt — and the shirt would be passed down to the next generation. Food even had value. People ate everything on their plates without wasting it.

Our sense of value has really changed since then. Americans now live by the saying, “If it’s old, it has to go.” Cars are replaced every three years. Expensive clothes are worn once, and then given away. Unwanted food is often wasted. But sadly, this “throw-away” attitude has also been applied to people: once a person gets a certain age, he or she is seen as a burden to society. As a result, the elderly and underprivileged are made to feel like second-class citizens. Someday — and perhaps too late — we will learn that you can’t replace people like you would a car, shirt, or a can of corn.

All people have special value because they have been created by God in His image. That’s why it is wrong to treat others like unwanted goods. Our value as individuals comes from Christ, who died for us and rose again. This ought to bring us joy, no matter how anyone else treats us. It should also cause us to treat others like they have great value, because God says they do.

Do you treat other people like they have value — even people who can do nothing for you in return? Remember that God thinks everyone is valuable, whether they are young or old, male or female, black or white, rich or poor. When you treat others like they have value to God, you will make new friends and find more opportunities to share your faith. Why not give it a try? It will be worth it.

Click here to see why everyone has special value in God’s eyes.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder