How many likes did you get on your last post?
How many people complemented your last work?
How many followers/friends do you have?
What is your net worth?
Are you more or less interesting than others?
Our culture is obsessed with meaning, with value, and with worth. We want to know that what we are doing matters, we want to know that our identity is secure.
This is part of the reason why so many people are skilled self-re-inventors today. “Perhaps my 2009-self wasn’t as popular, as well-liked, and I felt less valued. Not to worry! My 2019-self will be far more worthy of value because of better cameras, Instagram filters, and social networks which broaden my reach and increase my value or ‘personal capital!'”
To prove how much of an issue this is, when I did a simple search of valuing yourself, one of the first articles I found was on Wiki-How regarding self-worth. It addresses several aspects of balancing your life with and ultimately to, “trust your feelings.” It’s filled with tips to improve your life and to value yourself.
Now, it is important to know that you matter. Every human life matters. No matter how difficult, you are valuable. No matter how young, human live is precious. First, because you are made in the image of God himself (Gen. 1:26-27).
In a culture that increasingly dismisses the reality of being created intentionally by God, it is no wonder that more and more people, especially young adults, struggle with the idea of being valued.
There is so much to be said on this issue, but for the sake of brevity I’d like to draw attention to 2 types of value: Temporary value and eternal value.
Temporal value comes and goes quicker than a Chick-fil-A drive-thru order. You get a complement, an hour later you say “no one notices me!”
You refresh your newsfeed waiting for positive affirmation; finally, someone likes your post… and not 10 seconds later, you’re hoping there were more! (This exists at all levels… celebrities that have 100,000 likes still mourn that they didn’t get 1,000,000.)
Temporal value comes from a good grade, followed by failed classes.
Perhaps it’s a new car that gets wrecked, or a growing church divided by trivialities?
Temporal value comes when you build a house and it is soon destroyed in a hurricane. From likes to real estate, temporal value can only give until it is taken.
In Matthew 7, Jesus uses an analogy of real estate to talk about those who listen to his words. Are you building on the sand or on the rocks?
You may be familiar with the following passages, but do you remember what surrounds it?
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
These are indeed very comforting words from Jesus… but have you noticed the rest of the passage? Jesus is speaking of judgment. Here are Jesus’ words immediately following after:
“…So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
I thought this was supposed to be encouraging?? How does this help me know my value??
Here’s an important distinction to note: All people are eternally valuable as God’s creation. God’s people are eternally valuable as God’s children.
Do you see the difference? Where does value ultimately come from? If Christ is the source of all value, doesn’t it make all the sense in the world to abandon everything you hold as valuable and pursue Him as your life’s value? God has offered you eternal sonship/daughterhood if you repent and follow Jesus. You will never find greater value than being a part of his kingdom.
These are the rocks on which we can build our lives: the person of Christ and His Word.
In a world of ever-changing and misplaced value, may we find our constant value in the eternal treasure of Christ and his kingdom.
This is why Jesus said in Matthew 6:19 to build up for yourselves treasure in heaven. And as Paul says in one of my favorite verses, Philippians 3:8 – “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Look back at the list I wrote at the beginning of this article, doesn’t it seem laughably unimportant in comparison?)
Find your value in Christ and you won’t have to doubt your worth, you’ll be able to look at the cross and know the price Jesus was willing to pay… for you.