What are you worth? It’s a question that is asked of us in many different ways in life. It can be a particularly poignant question for women. The world around us often conspires, it seems to me, to tell women that we’re really not worth very much. I know there have been times in my life when I struggled with this question. I have found it all too easy to lose sight of Jesus’ words about our value: “But even the hairs on your head are all counted” (Luke 12:7).
I want my daughter, who turned one today, to remember these important words, to grow up with an unshakeable sense of her own value. I want my two sons, 6 and 10, to feel the same. Equally important, I want them to understand the immense value of every other person as well.
The newly released film Priceless uses this question of what we are worth to explore issues of human trafficking and prostitution. (In the interest of full disclosure, I know Priceless co-producer Cubbie Fink and his wife, Rebecca St. James, who appears briefly in the film.)
In the film James, a struggling single father played by Joel Smallbone (of the Grammy-award-winning Christian band For King and Country), accepts a mysterious job driving a truck across the country. It is not until he’s almost reached his destination that he discovers that his cargo is two young Mexican sisters. In his brief interactions with them, he is moved by the strong faith of the older sister, Antonia. Feeling he has little choice, James goes through with the delivery but is then haunted by the two girls and images of the life to which he has condemned them. He sets out to try to make things right.
Throughout the movie, several different characters struggle with the question of what they are worth, in the eyes of a pimp, in the eyes of a customer willing to pay for sex, and in the eyes of God.
It’s a powerful and challenging movie, dealing with very real issues most of us would rather not think about. Because of the nature of these issues, it’s not a movie for younger children (it’s rated PG-13), but I would recommend it for parents. Even better, for parents to go see with their teenagers. The movie provides plenty of material for discussion later.
James could easily do nothing, but he chooses to listens to God’s voice and to act, at a potential great risk to himself and his family. The film asks us to do the same.
A good place to begin is to teach our children not only their own value but the value of each person they encounter: in God’s eyes, priceless. The past month’s constant headlines about sexual assault simply underscore the importance of such a message.
No matter what the message of the world is, God loves and knows us, even to the point of knowing how many hairs are on our heads. How can we question our worth after reflecting on that?