:To have high value or merit.
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” Philippians 3:7-9 NIV
How do you measure worth? What makes a thing precious? How can you tell the difference between what is worthy and what is worthless? I want to know.
The more we value a certain thing or a certain someone, the more we want it. The higher we will pay to acquire it. When something is meaningful, we will save up, go without and put aside, whatever it takes to get that special something or someone. Worth is not a question of having, it is a question of what we are willing to give up to have what we want. It invades our thoughts; it influences our actions.
I became a Christian 19 years ago. When I opened the Bible and started reading it seriously for the first time, I was amazed! I never thought that the Bible could be interesting and funny at the same time, or that it could touch my heart and bring me to tears. It could make me angry, sad, indignant, and inspire me to do things I never imagined I could do. I remember when I realized that I wasn’t a real Christian. I had always seen myself as a “good” person, despite the fact that I had an unfortunate shoplifting habit and a mouth like a sailor. I went to Christmas and Easter mass and didn’t eat red meat on Good Friday. I did, however, lie to my Mom about going to the library, when in reality I would go to my boyfriend’s house. But hey, it’s not like God didn’t have better things to be preoccupied with in the world than my little life…right? I believed myself to be a Christian right up until I read in the Bible that I wasn’t one.
To be a Christian according to the Bible, one must have a passing resemblance to Christ. Today, being a Christian means many different things to many different people. The value that they attach to the name varies with the level of commitment. The value of Christianity today is a far cry from what it should be. The moment I realized that I was not truly walking the walk, the value of getting right with God for me skyrocketed. I made a decision to learn the truth, to walk the walk, to gain the treasure that is the kingdom of God.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46 NIV
What makes pearls beautiful? How are they born? Some pearls start out as a tiny grain of worthless sand. The grain gets trapped in the oyster and the oyster coats it with nacre, a mineral that makes up its shell, to guard against irritation. Layer after layer goes over that grain until it becomes a beautiful pearl. What once was worthless is now rare and precious.
And so it is with us.
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28 NIV
Without Jesus, we are that grain of sand. That irritating, sharp-edged, hard little stone that is unpenetrable. When we discover for the first time that God exists, and the Bible is right, we have the decision lying before us to be “clothed” with Christ or to not. As we continue along, our constant use of the scriptures continues to build and cover over us until we are one day presented as pearls of great price to God our father.
What is our value? What are we worth?
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 NIV
The price God paid for us was the blood of his son. We are priceless. You are priceless. We were not meant to be worthless and think of ourselves as such; we were made to have the highest worth. God laid down his very life to acquire us.
And so it is true: nothing worth having is worth nothing. Genuine value comes at a price. A gift is not free; someone has to pay for it. In the same way, grace is not free. Jesus paid with his life. The value he places on us must translate into us appreciating what we have been given.
Let’s prove ourselves worthy.