It is a question that I believe all people must ask themselves at one point: “What is my worth?” Well, I know that I have asked myself that question many times, at different points in my life. Most times the question is not phrased aloud, but festering subconsciously—only able to be recognized once the answer to the question is made visible in my actions; occurring at a later date.
A more frequently noted self-reflection question would be “what is my purpose?” When speaking with others philosophically, one’s purpose is the question that typically arises; maybe, because it is a safer question on which to dwell. While there may be some correlation between one’s purpose and one’s worth, it is possible to have little purpose and great worth. So too, is it possible for one to have little worth, and great purpose. It is far more unlikely, however, for one to prefer that they have little worth, regardless of whether or not they possess great purpose. I would suggest that most people believe that they can find purpose later, as long as they have worth.
Or, maybe people speak of purpose more frequently because they believe it is a determinant of worth. I think that, at times, this has been my mindset. And maybe, the better question is “WHERE do I find my worth?” Yes, I think that this is the more accurate question.
As a Christian, I know that I am to look to God, my Father, for my worth. The Holy Bible is THE love story. Consider the parable of the prodigal son. The younger son fails to understand his purpose, loses his way—yet, he has worth. He has worth to the Father (God) because the son (us) is just that, His son. That is why, while the Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Great men never run in public,” the Father runs to His son.
“But while he (the younger son) was still a long ways off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him, he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” ~ Luke 15:20
This is not the only instance of scripture telling us that we possess worth. Isaiah 13:12 says that God will make us “more precious than fine gold.” Let us consider what is shared with us in Romans 8:31-38:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In short, Christians need only look to God for their worth. And in looking to God, Christians know they have great worth. Moreover, in looking to God, Christians find their purpose. It is when Christians turn their eyes from their Father that they become lost. Consider three of the most prominent biblical figures: David, Peter, and Paul.
David was passionate. When following God, his passion led to great feats that glorified his Father. When he turned his focus away from God, his passion caused him major tragedy.
Peter was ambitious. When his ambitions were focused on glorifying God, and not himself, he became a leader for the early church. When his ambitions were focused on his glory, his words and deeds made him a fool.
Paul was principled. When his principles were self-righteous, he became a murderer. Once his principled nature was focused on the will of God, he became the Lord’s messenger for those same people he once murdered ruthlessly.
It becomes apparent that all traits have worth—and every person has worth—inasmuch as they are focused toward the Father’s glory.
But sometimes, if we are all honest, we have trouble seeing what our Father asks of us. Even the Jews, while being fed by manna from the sky, made the golden calf. When we fail to see our worth…when our purpose is not blatantly shouted within our ears, we tend to look elsewhere. We seek answers through idols. And there are always willing idols floating around us, begging us to bite onto them tightly as a fish does bait. We are warned to avoid idols, which can be things good for us when placed in proper context.
I see the idols in my life. One is accomplishment. As a doctoral student, it is quite easy for me to find my worth in my educational background—my degrees. Another can be performance, where publishing research articles has the potential to become my over arching purpose. With each manuscript accepted for publication, I could begin seeing myself as possessing greater worth. And in following such idols, I would become more susceptible to pride. In many ways, pride is equivalent to death.
Therefore, it is so important that I continually look to my Lord for my worth and my purpose. May you also see this as a necessity in your life. In doing so, you can stop asking yourself two questions