Trading Breath for Value: Unmasking Life’s True Worth

Written by
Written by

Deolu Akinyemi

Life is a perpetual exchange, a ceaseless barter of breath—inhaling oxygen, exhaling carbon dioxide. In this ever-moving world, where nothing remains static, understanding the true worth of what we exchange is paramount.

Consider students who, in pursuit of academic excellence, often sacrifice precious moments with loved ones and friendships for the fleeting glory of acing an exam. They trade irreplaceable bonds for five minutes of fame, questioning the real value of their choices. Likewise, many adults dedicate their lives to work, hoping to exchange their time for financial security, only to realize that they’ve unwittingly traded precious moments with family for the mere means to care for their needs. If these value equations are askew, the consequences can be profound, affecting family life, friendships, and relationships.

So, what holds the most value in this fleeting existence, and where should we invest our energy? Is it success, wealth, family, friendship, or happiness? What is worthy of our breath, our time? Where does true value lie, and how can we trade up instead of trading down?

Jesus imparted timeless wisdom that illuminates the path to genuine worth. He famously asked, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” This underscores that a single human soul outweighs the entire material wealth of the world. He also urged us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these other things shall be added,” highlighting that pursuing righteousness negates the need to chase after worldly desires. Furthermore, he noted that what is esteemed among men may be detestable before God, emphasizing the variance in human and divine value systems. Finally, he advised storing treasures in heaven rather than on earth, urging us to live with eternity in mind rather than within the confines of finite years.

As we navigate life’s intricate web of exchanges, we must scrutinize the value we trade for the value we receive. Are we trading breath for something truly priceless? What, indeed, are we trading for what?

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