The Measure of Our Worth

Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.
-Colossians 3:17

We live in a world that is obsessed with quantitative success. If we can measure it as success then it is deemed successful. From the number of dollars in our bank accounts to the number of followers we have on social media platforms, society depends on numbers to determine worth. What happens when the numbers don’t add up to the objective measures that we have of success? What does a person’s life look like when the only success that matters is based on a numbers game? Consider these success stories.

There was a young lady who was obsessed with her grades. She wanted so badly to graduate with a 4.0 that she took twice as long to finish school because she only took the professors that were easy “A” professors. She wasn’t satisfied with getting the degree. For her, self-worth was tied to the number of A’s she got.

There was a man who measured his success with money and possessions. If it didn’t have a dollar amount attached to it, he was not interested in it. This lawyer only took on large cases with big payouts to keep up his lavish lifestyle. During his career, three wives left him, and his children no longer came over for the holidays. He died alone.

There is a pastor of a large mega-church with nearly 20,000 members at five campuses. He is all over TV and radio. His books always make the best-seller lists. He has a successful marriage of 41 years, and he has met four presidents. He is the envy of many pastors. However, he has not spoken to his siblings since he left home to go to college and didn’t attend the funeral of either of his parents.

All these people are successful, on paper. Their numbers prove their societal worth, but their lives were qualitative failures in the areas that are not measurable. These examples may be fictional and extreme, but they are not that far off base from reality. How many of us know at least one person who is so consumed with measurable success that they miss out on the intangible joys of life or miss the God moments in their lives? And, if we are honest with ourselves, sometimes we miss the forest for the trees. Sometimes, our focus on success at work, at home, or in society causes us to forget the true measure of our worth.

What happens when we ask ourselves some important question? Was it all worth it? Did I do the right thing? Do I go the right way? Did I follow the right path? Was my life worth the time I spent living it? When faced with these questions, the only way to be able to say yes to all of them is to have done everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. When we measure our worth through the lens of Christ, we will never go wrong.

For closing, here is one final story. There was a woman who didn’t have any children. She had tried unsuccessfully to have a child twice, one died stillborn and one miscarried. Eventually, her second husband died and left her without children of her own. However, when she died, she had been called Mama countless times and had raised three generations of children. That woman was the woman who raised my grandmother, my mother, and me. According to the numbers that measure motherhood a certain way, she was a failure. According to all of us who knew and loved her, she was the most successful mother we ever knew.

Prompt for Thought: How are you measuring success? Is it only a numbers game? Are you beating up on yourself because you didn’t measure up in some quantitative way? How can you shift to using God’s measure to determine your success?

Prayer for the Journey: God, as believers, we want to live lives that are holy and pleasuring unto you. However, sometimes we lose sight of that and allow the world to determine our worth based on numbers versus a quality of life determined by your love, grace, and mercy. Help us to remember that anything we do, when done in Christ’s name, is successful in your eyes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.