Thrift Store Meditation | UMC YoungPeople
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December 2010

Thrift Store Meditation

By Hank Hilliard
October 2008

Scripture: (can use just one, or several) Matthew 6:25-27; John 10:10; John 3:16

Theme: Each of us has immense value because God created us and sacrificed so much for us.

Preparation: Place several items from the thrift store (or other used items you do not want back) in the worship space (on the communion table or prayer rails).

Tell the participants to come and browse through the items. Pick something that catches your attention. Something that you like or think is cool. Something that you consider to be the best or most valuable item on the table.

After each person has selected an item, have a few of them share in the large group, or share in groups of three depending on your time frame:

  • Why did you pick the item you did? Why does it have value to you over the other items?

After 5-10 minutes of conversation the leader of the worship time says a bit about value: could share a brief personal story that involves "value." For example:

  • Something you own that has tremendous value to you.
  • A time you lost something valuable and what it felt like to you and what you did about it.

Everything has value, some things more than others. Value changes over time. For example, certain singers and actors become popular and then fade away. Name a singer or actor or two from their generation that was popular a few years ago that is not really talked about much now. Or name a video game or toy that was a passion fad for their generation.

In the marketplace three things seem to determine value:

  1. Who made it?
  2. How much is someone willing to pay for it?
  3. Is it difficult to find – is it scarce?

Who made it? In some cultures, two similar shirts will cost vastly different amounts if one is the Polo brand and the other has no logo on it at all. In the U.S., for example, Starbucks Coffee costs way more than coffee you can make at home.

How much is someone willing to pay? This is the question that is around the edges of our societies and cultures. A car may be valued at $10,000, but if no one will pay that, then the car is not really worth the value it has been given.

Let’s look at our lives. Who and what is considered to have value? What kinds of people are valued in our society? What kinds of degrees are most valued and why? (allow the group to respond if time allows) Possible responses: Athletes, school diplomas and degrees, popularity, positions and power – like chiefs and presidents, wealth? Medical degrees are sometimes more valued than others because doctors can make a lot of money.

The real measure of value can be found by responding to these questions, rather than the one’s society has created?

  1. Who made you?
  2. How much is someone willing to pay for you?
  3. How much was God willing to pay?

Scriptures about God paying the price for us. His life as a ransom. Perhaps Genesis' description of us as "very good".

Take their item with you, as a reminder of your value to God. And, remember, no matter how valuable this item is to you, God’s sees your value as much, much more!