For the majority of my 20’s I wandered from job to job spending time in other countries with internships or volunteer positions. As long as I had enough money for orange juice, cereal, and pasta I was happy. Then a few years ago I met a girl. Let me assure you she is in not a ‘high maintenance girl’ (whatever that means) nor did she demand I have a high paying job. In fact, we began dating when I was working part time as a delivery driver and part time as a security guard. Despite how caring and supportive she was, I could not shake the feeling I needed to be making more. In my own personal struggle to learn what it means to be a boyfriend and eventually a husband, my paycheck became a big issue...
Ephesians 3:20 "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us..."
2. You are worth more than your title
Although your paycheck might be significant to your own personal sense of value, you will rarely have someone come up to you and ask, “How much do you make?” You will, however, have people ask you what your job is. Our title and position may be the most common quality about ourselves that we share with strangers. I have experienced the quick sting of embarrassment that comes when describing what I think is my less-than-noble job. Unfortunately, the usual encouragement I get of Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do...[do] as for the Lord rather than for men," has never really inspired me. I can agree mentally, but in practice it falls apart.
For me, a good title boosts my reputation (and my ego) in front of others. Glory is defined as "high renown or honor won by notable achievements"--at least that's what Google tells me. So consider this: with Christ, we get his glory. That is the highest renown or honor we could ever win... and we don't even need to win it.
John 17:22 "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one."
3. You are worth more than your relationship status.
A certain social network has pegged this as one of our most defining characteristics. It won’t make an announcement if you change religions, but it will if you change partners. I know for the majority of my 20's, relationship status (or lack of one) was huge for me. Right, not a big surprise. The advice from my friends: (no joke, I was actually told this by a roommate) "Well, out of all of us, you are the most likely to be called to a life of celibacy" ...Really? I think they meant to praise me for my discipline...it didn't help. Don't forget the classic "God waits until you don't want one anymore to bless you with one." Good to know that God's methods are to bless us only with things we no longer want.
It seems like I could come up with a list of what not to say to a single or struggling friend, but I don't really know what to say. Maybe we need to consider this: our relationship to God and Christ dwarfs all others. In fact, every other relationship in this world is meant to practice, model, or point to these. We have lost the big picture.
Jesus addresses this in Mark. In a challenge someone asked Jesus about a widow who had remarried many times. He poses the question when she gets to heaven "who's wife will she be?" Let me take the liberty of paraphrasing Jesus (with all respect and fear). Jesus exclaims. "Are you kidding me?!?! You don't get it do you, why would there be marriage? We are talking about heaven here! you are going to be like angels!"
Eternal, eternal, eternal. We are eternal creatures and must constantly remind ourselves of it.
There is no way I can address this whole topic here, but I do want to recognize that the emotions at play in relationships are real and powerful. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always powerful.
But for better or worse no relationship, other than the one between you and your Creator, will define you.
Mark 12:24-25 "Jesus said to them, 'Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven."
1 John 3:1a "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are"
4. You are worth more than your legacy
I am taking a continuing education course on grant writing, and as I look at foundations that give money, I am impressed by the legacy of their donors. Years after they have left this earth, their money still provides support for those in need. Kennedy, Rockefeller, Ford, and Gates are names of families whose legacies go well beyond the life of their patriarch.
Often this legacy becomes the culmination of everything else--the ultimate goal. Paychecks, titles, net worth, and relationships all attempt to build up a legacy. It is the only way we have to give ourselves a sense of eternal (or at least extended) life.
Heck, I have not started to think about my legacy yet. But before I do, I need to consider this:
Luke 12:33 "Sell you possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys."
(A quick note. Notice it says "sell your possessions" not "store them up so that you can give later." The charity in this verse is not about legacy, but about putting our heart in the right place.
And speaking of treasures in heaven…
5. You are worth more than your good works
How many mission trips have you been on? When was the last time you volunteered? Are you on a church committee? Do you play worship at church? Did you give to the youth group fundraiser?
Do you find your self-worth here?
Good works are…well…good! They are really the good-est of all works. However, that does not mean they determine your self-worth or value. As far as determining your value as a person, good works are no better than job titles, bank accounts, relationships or legacies.
Good works were never meant to be a litmus test for value. They are wonderful, and our lives (now and later) will be enriched by them, but they do not determine our value. I emphasize this over and over because for me I need to hear it. I can agree at least theoretically with all the other points, but here I hesitate.
So what are you worth?
Let me first say that we may tend to think of these 5 mistakes for people who "don't have." For example I don't have money, a legacy, a job, a relationship, or enough good works so I think I'm worthless. But the problem is just the same, and maybe worse, for those who "do have." If you feel like you have good self-worth because you have money, a job, a relationship or whatever, then you miss the point just as well. The value that God places on us is so far above and beyond any of these earthly things, that the man who feels worthless because of his poverty is to be pitied just as much as the man who feels full of worth because of his wealth.
God defines your worth, and he said you are worth Jesus.
If we can capture that. If we can realize that we are worth Jesus, his suffering and death, we will be on the right path. Then, as we grow in our love and adoration of Christ, our understanding of our own self-worth grows too. The more valuable Christ is to us the more we can, in awe and humility, see the value that God has placed on us.
Before you go... consider these last verses:
Titus 3:5 "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit."
1 Corinthians 6:20a "For you have been bought with a price"
Luke 12:6-7 "Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows."
Ephesians 2:10a "For we are His workmanship."
"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You."
Be blessed everyone, you are valuable.