Before we even learned to count, we learned the way the world works.
We did “good” things: we picked up toys; ate all our pears; and gave the cat his needed space—and we were praised. Our value was affirmed.
We did “bad” things: we fought with siblings; refused to take a needed bath; threw tantrums on the kitchen floor—and we were criticized, less loved.
The love we knew was often a transaction: for doing X, we could get Y. And when we took up jobs and cash, the lesson only deepened: value gotten meant value given.
And then we heard a strange, new thing: Jesus overturned the economy of value, just as He overturned the tables of the merchants. We are loved, the Father says, before we ever did good things, and even when we do bad things. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
So constant is His matchless care we never leave the orbit of His love. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
Here is the gospel of new value: we are loved because God loves, and not for what we offer Him.