Self-Worth and Net-Worth

“Can a mother forget her little child and not have love for her own son? Yet even if that should be, I will not forget you. See, I have tattooed your name upon my palm”(Isaiah 49:15-16 TLB)

One of the reasons a lot of people miss Jesus is because they’re too busy trying to make a name for themselves. They’re so consumed with the drive to make more so they can get more so they, at least in their own eyes, can be more, they bypass their need of the only One whose opinion of them matters.

Somewhere along the way we’ve gotten our significance mixed up with our net-worth, believing if we have wealth and prestige we can impress others and feel good about ourselves. Our value becomes tied to our bottom line. How differently the Lord sees us.

One of my favorite Christmas movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life” with James Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore. James Stewart plays the part of a young man with big dreams. All he can think about is getting an education so he can shake the dust of Bedford Falls off his shoes and never look back. He wants to travel the world and build sky-scrapers and bridges so he can have a sense of accomplishment so he can feel his life matters.

As it turns out, he marries a local girl and takes over the Building and Loan that his father had started. He stays in Bedford Falls, has children, and builds a good life. At one point, due to no fault of his own, his Building and Loan comes up short a lot of money, so he decides his life is worth more dead than alive, but he’s given a gift from God of the ability to see what life in Bedford Falls would have been like if he’d never been born. His eyes are opened to the reality of how “rich” he really was.

That’s what needs to happen in a lot of our hearts, minds, and eyes today. God doesn’t make mistakes and every person who is born has value and infinite worth in the eyes of God. If we’re alive we have purpose, which gives value, not only to our lives, but the lives of those we love and whose lives ours touches.

In my life, though I’ve never made very much money, by God’s grace I’ve had a very “rich” life. I’ve seen poverty and experienced the joy that comes despite how much money I have or the worldly possessions I’ve accumulated. At the end of life on earth all the money in the world won’t help anyone miss hell, only Jesus can do that.

Rick Warren wrote: “One of the reasons people can’t relax is that they confuse their work and their worth. They confuse their net worth with their self-worth. They think, ‘If I work really hard and succeed at work, then I am valuable. If I’m not productive, then I’m not valuable.’ That’s a lie! But in Western culture, our identity often revolves around our work, so we overwork in an attempt to prove ourselves. We believe that if we achieve a lot, then we must be worth a lot. But your significance has nothing to do with your job, your career, or your achievements.”

In an effort to feel validated we often seek to make ourselves look better than we are, somehow hoping to gain glory and honor for ourselves. We crave the praise of men, ignoring our need to give honor and glory to God. But as Andy Stanley said: “Your glory is too small a thing to live for.” 

If you’re seeking to find value and worth in the things of this world, whether material, relational, or otherwise, hoping they will make you feel better about yourself, it’s like becoming an alcoholic hoping to dull the pain of life, it’s only going to lead to self-destruction.

The only way to realize our worth is to contemplate the beauty, majesty, and riches of the One who designed and created us. He knows us best and loves us most. His plans are to give us a future and a hope, not to have us work ourselves to death for the trinkets of this world.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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