What gives something value?

A little while ago a good friend of mine pointed me in the direction of this very interesting quote:

"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us; that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain to cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated."
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)- The American Crisis

 So here's the question: is it true that "it is dearness only that gives everything its value"? What does the Bible say? And, is there truth in what Paine says?

If you have any thought's we would be interested to hear them. Comment below...


  1. I do agree that dearness gives everything value. For example:

    The less dear money is to me, the less I value it.

    The less dear fitting in with my piers is to me, the less I value it.

    The more dear God's Word is to me the more I value it.

    And the more dear Christ is to me the more I value Him! 1 Peter 2:7 says that to those who believe He is precious. The dearer Christ is to me the more I value His commandments and the more I want to be made like Him.

    But, I did ask myself: Doesn't value give everything its dearness? What do people think? Do dearness and value go hand in hand? Or can dearness be a feeling, an emotion, that dictates what I value?

    I think I need to choose, commit to and work at what I value in order for righteousness, to become dear to me.

  2. It is interesting that not just "the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly" but nearly losing something makes it so much dearer and stops you taking it for granted, be that something material, a relationship or something like freedom.

    Those of us who have grown up in Christian homes and have known God all our lives are incredibly blessed, but it brings a responsibility not to be lackadaisical about our faith - do we truly value it?

  3. RJ, thanks for your thoughts. I wonder if when Paine refers to 'dearness' he is actually talking about the costliness of a thing rather than it being close to your heart. That's certainly what I thought he was saying when I read the quote. You are certainly right that the closer something is to your heart the more valuable it will be to you. I think that in that sense the two things do go hand in hand. Thanks for bringing up 1 Peter 2:7; it's an amazing verse and is a great reminder of how precious it is to have the Lord Jesus.

    Tabitha, that's an insightful thought. It actually makes a lot of sense. Is that what makes the church is persecuted countries so much more alive and excited do you think?

    If our salvation comes freely to us (we, ourselves, haven't suffered or worked for it) does that mean that Paine is wrong? Is hasn't been dear for us (though it was for Christ) but is still valuable.

  4. Wow, your last question really made me think! I don't think Paine is necessarily wrong because, as you say, the price of salvation was dear to Christ - and therefore it is, to use Paine's expression, the greatest triumph in history. It makes me think of the verse about us becoming co-heirs with Messiah; it is a concept that still boggles my mind and obviously He DID take our suffering, but He has now called us equal. Also, although it is no-where the same as what God did for us, being a Christian still has a cost attached for each of us - and as you mentioned, when we suffer for our faith, it is very much alive! These thoughts are a little rambling but hopefully they make some sense ... :-)


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