Measuring Value

December 3, 2019
Photo: Pixabay

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (John 9:1-3, NIV 1984).


My mother suffers from severe dementia. She often seems to understand what we say and who we are but can never speak coherently. Her life is difficult, and our goal as children is to visit often and give her moments of joy. Yesterday my sister was visiting Mom and told her about one of her friends who was seriously ill. Mom bowed her head and began, “Oh Lord, you are the one we come to in our need.”


My mother can hardly put a sentence together for her kids, but when she prayed to her Father, her clarity returned.


We talk about the value of life. Most people who have watched my mother’s recent life would suggest she would be better off in heaven with Jesus; she would, but the rest of us would not.


God keeps my mother in this life for a reason that is worth her suffering.

Hearing of my mother’s prayer, quoted above, rising from her dementia, has been of immeasurable value for us, her children.


My moments seeking to bring joy to her life have been a struggle and have changed me forever, in a Godly way.


And I would not be surprised if God did not respect my mother’s prayer for our sick friend, poured out from a soul clouded by broken neurons, far more than my own.


As human beings, we can hardly grasp the value of a moment, much less the value of all God is doing in a life, regardless of ability or disability.


God holds the only measuring stick of our value, fashioned in love and marked with eternal numbers. His calculations ignore the measuring sticks of the world that might well decide to move my mother on more quickly, or ignore the man born blind for God’s glory. Our task is not to do the measuring for anyone we meet, but to trust the Measurer and hold in awe the person He has set before us.


Dear God,

Let me see people as you see them, regardless of their value to the world.



Al Weir, MD

Al Weir, MD

After leaving academic medicine, Dr. Weir served in private practice at the West Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee from 1991-2005 before joining the CMDA staff as Vice President of Campus & Community Ministries where he served for three years from 2005-2008. He is presently Professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Program Director for the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. He is also President of Albanian Health Fund, an educational ministry to Albania where he has been serving for 20 years. He is the author of two books: When Your Doctor Has Bad News and Practice by the Book. Dr. Weir’s work has also been published in many medical journals and other publications. Al and his wife Becky live in Memphis, Tennessee, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Dr. Weir is currently serving on CMDA's Board of Trustees.