“First, kill all the lawyers.” Don’t you just love Shakespeare? Never mind the fact that Shakespeare meant that line as a compliment to lawyers and judges who instill justice in society. I still (jokingly) love this line and believe it is fine as a stand-alone comment. I don’t actually think we should kill all the lawyers, as I know they serve a purpose. Our lawyer once told me that people don’t like going to see their lawyer much like they don’t like going to see their dentist. I actually don’t mind going to see my dentist; she is a very kind, loving and sincere person, as is my lawyer. Lawyers are just people, just like everyone else. They aren’t super-humans, or angels or demons; they’re just people.
But, discussing lawyers isn’t really my point here. People are. Lawyers are included in this discussion, much like doctors, accountants, carpenters, nurses, stay-at-home moms, daycare workers, mechanics, salesmen, pilots, military personnel, ministers, servers, artists, grocery store cashiers, teachers, and everyone else. We are all people first; professions are, or at least should be, secondary. So really I’m not just discussing people here, but worth. Specifically, our worth as people.
Where does our worth come from?
What do we find our worth in?
Is our worth found in what we do?
Is it found in who we are?
Is it found in whose we are?
For me, that is what I’ve found to be the only true measure of my worth – to whom do I belong?
For a long time after I married, I was content to be my husband’s wife. A few years into our marriage, I was content to also be my children’s mother. After a few more years, I was content to add “homeschooling teacher” to my list of monikers. Every new adventure in, or addition to my life brought a new level of fulfillment for a time, but eventually left me wanting more. And that begs the question, “what more is there?”
What more would make me feel like I have, or am, enough?
The simple answer is never simply arrived at. I found, after many years of seeking fulfillment, worth, value, recognition, prestige even, that my worth was not in any of that. Not only that, I couldn’t find my worth in any of that. I could not. Try as I might, I could not find my worth in all that seems good and valuable to me. So, where is worth found? Specifically, in what or whom can I find my worth as a human being?
My husband and I had several dreams, or goals, when we were young that we wanted to accomplish in our lives. On our first date Dan shared with me one goal he’d had his entire life, and that was to build his own house from the ground up, doing all the work himself. Later on in our relationship we shared other goals/dreams we both had, like having a large family, living in the country to raise our family, being out of debt and living in perpetuity debt free, and of course, doing all this with our hearts and minds toward serving the Lord. Though it wasn’t a straight and easy path, we had accomplished most of these goals by the time we were in our late 3os and early 40s. The “debt-free in perpetuity” goal was never actualized, though we achieved it temporarily a few times, but we continue to pursue this dream. Almost all the others – having a large family, living in the country, building our own house with our own hands – were realized. We will know whether or not we did “all this with our hearts and minds toward serving the Lord” on Judgement Day, I suppose, and we continue to keep this as one of our goals.
As I said, we had realized most of our goals by the time we were in our late 30s and early 40s, and rather than feeling quite pleased and satisfied with myself (I won’t speak for my husband), I felt like “now what?”. Of course I was knee-deep in homeschooling five children, so I didn’t actually have much time to dwell on that thought. But it was always a niggling thought in the back of my mind. “If I have accomplished all that I dreamed about and planned for by the time I’m 39, what do I place before myself as my next goal, my next accomplishment to shoot for, my next hoorah to look forward to?”
I believe now that this line of thinking was, in itself, the wrong line of thinking. I was asking the wrong question. I was living with the wrong goal. For all my talk of wanting to live my life with my heart and mind always toward serving the Lord, that goal was actually right where I put it in that list of goals above – in the very last slot. That was, and is, how I have lived most of my life. Instead of asking God what He would have me do to live my life in such a way as to be pleasing to Him, I have lived my life the way I thought would bring satisfaction and fulfillment to myself and then asked Him to bless what I have in mind to do. That is not, like most everything in our lives, 100% true about everything I’ve done. Some things, like homeschooling my children, I did because I knew God spoke to my heart and told me to do it, and I continually asked for His wisdom and blessing to help me do what He had called me to do. But, other things, like cars and houses and land, I pursued with Him in the back of my mind, hoping He approved and would bless.
So, what is the right question?
What should be the driving force in our lives?
Where do we get our worth from?
Does our worth come from being a good person?
Always telling the truth?
Treating others with kindness and respect?
Forgiving others when they wrong us?
Putting others first?
Giving to the poor?
Telling others about God’s gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ?
Yes, yes, yes and yes. But, no.
None of those things are where our worth comes from. They are all good things to do. But doing them all everyday with complete dedication and diligence will not add up to worth. Specifically, worth in God’s eyes. Because that is the ultimate goal, isn’t it? To be found worthy in God’s eyes? How can we possibly be found worthy in God’s eyes?
Over the past 21 months, since my middle son passed away tragically and unexpectedly, I seem to have travelled a course from having a deep (I thought) faith in God, to a dark, hopeless place, and am now learning of a new place of real (I think) faith in God. I did not realize how much my faith depended on what I did, or didn’t do on a daily basis. I put a lot of faith in how “good” I am. I’ve taught others, and thought I believed myself, that salvation and God’s love for us is based entirely on God’s own character and our faith in Him, all the while doing my best to be as good as I can be and basing my standing with God on that. What a confused hypocrite I’ve been.
Our worth is in Jesus Christ and what He did for us. Our worth to God was demonstrated on the cross 2000 years ago. During some of my most angry times during the past 21 months I’ve said to God, “How would you like it if your son died?”! Of course, I had to shut my mouth before I got to the last three words of that question, because He knows. God knows what it feels like to have His son die; in fact, His only son died. That is how he demonstrated His love for us. He sent His only Son to the earth to become the very flesh He created; to live a perfect, sinless life here on the earth He created; and to die the most horrendous death man ever invented, hanging on a wooden cross made from a tree He created, to take the punishment we deserve, on Himself. He took the payment I rightfully owe to God for all my sins, on Himself. He took my punishment. In the process, He gave me His righteousness. This amazing trade-off is true for all mankind. But we have to believe it and accept it for ourselves, and God will not force that on anyone. He gives us all the free will to choose whatever we want to choose in regards to Him…..our Creator.
A long time ago I realized I am never going to find my worth in anything or anyone besides the One who made me and loves me enough to give the life of His son, so He could have me forever. I am His and He is mine for all of eternity because His son died for me, rose from the dead, lives to intercede for me, and I believe Him.
So, what does any of this have to do with lawyers? Practically nothing, besides the fact that lawyers are just people, like we are all just people. And, after many conversations with my lawyer during the most difficult period in my life, I was reminded by the Lord to examine my heart – to remember who I am, Whose I am, what I believe, and why I believe it. This has propelled me to continue to seek the One who calls me “beloved” and “the apple of His eye”; the One who is the lover of my soul.
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24
“I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” John 6:47
“Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25
“The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made.” Psalm 145:13b