Lately I have been thinking about worth. As humans we see worth in a completely different way than God does. As Americans we see worth as something different than the way most of the world does. Americans want the most gain for as little work as possible, even if that gain is not absolutely needed. And anything that requires a lot of work can obviously be done without—because, after all, who wants to do the work?
But God was willing to die for a rebellious and sinful world. We were not “worth” the price. His value far outweighs the value of the people he died to save, you and me.
But through his death he gave us the power “to life a life worthy of the calling you received.” (Eph 4:1) How is this done? “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
When we approach things in life how do we decide if something is “worth” the effort? Is our value system intrinsically flawed? We want and expect results that match our effort and we want them close after that effort. But really most of life doesn’t work this way, and I am convinced that God’s kingdom doesn’t work this way either. He does things in a sort of upside-down and backwards way than we most often expect. He picks the younger son. He spends time with the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years as the high-level official’s daughter died. He eats with the poor and the rich, and allowing the prostitute to wipe his feet with her hair during a dinner with a prominent Pharisee. He picked his disciples, not from the elite scholars, as was the custom for rabbis, but from the working classes, men who fished and collected taxes and sweated for their food.
Are we willing to work for those results we cannot see? What if we don’t even know if they exist? Are we willing to work and put effort into something that we cannot readily see the worth? Do we base our worth on visible results? (“Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living.” Job 28:13)
God bases our worth on what he was willing to pay for us—which is a lot, his son’s life. We too should base our worth on that same thing. Are we willing to trust God for the worth of the work he asks us to do here on earth even if we can’t see the results of our labor? Even if others question the worth of our labor? We ought to trust him even at the cost of our reputation among others. We ought to trust him even when we can’t see the effect of long hours or even years of work and prayer. Maybe here on earth we won’t see the fruit. But there is always heaven.