The Worth of It All

Philippians 3:8 “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.”

At the end of 2015 I kinda retired after 36 and 1/2 years pastoring American Baptist churches in Michigan and Colorado. To say the least, it was an interesting time. Suddenly, I switched out of a role that a congregation of people had become accustomed for me to be in. No longer did I have the challenge of crafting a message for that coming Sunday morning, or assembling bible studies for the groups I led, or visiting the hospital rooms of those who were afflicted or healing from some surgery.

On the other side of things, I was still coaching high school basketball and middle school basketball and track. At that time I was still officiating high school basketball and a few small college games each season. I started putting more time into writing my first novel and constructing more Words From WW blogposts.

In this weird period of my life, the question that I ponder more and more is where do I find my worth? Let me rephrase it a different way: Are there certain responsibilities or tasks I hunger for simply because they give me a sense of value, a degree of worth?

I think we all have this hunger to be needed, whether that means the accolades given to a parent who has cooked dinner for the family, or my Starbucks barista who brings a smile to my face as she fixes me a perfect cup of Pike Place coffee, or the person who is delighted by the squeals of the six-year-old soccer team when they see what she has brought for the post-game snack.

We all are addicted in some way to being needed. It’s where we so often find our worth attached. At about this time the past two school years I’ve received a call from the middle school where I’ve coached and substitute taught asking if I would begin the year teaching a language arts class? I’ve really enjoyed the experiences, building relationships with kids, and coming to the point where they depend on you. This year, however, the middle school is more adequately staffed, so the phone call has not come.

And it has occurred to me that my need to teach may be an ingredient in the recipe of my self-worth. I’ve enjoyed it immensely, just as I’ve enjoyed coaching kids, but is its value determined by how it fulfills my need for worth?

The Apostle Paul wrote that knowing Jesus gives us worth. Knowing how unworthy I am to receive a sense of worth in Christ is hard to explain, and even to comprehend. So often my eyes are on something or someone else, instead of the Lamb of God who is worthy to be praised. Hard as it to believe, God found me worthy enough to give His Son up as a sacrifice for me.

That thought brings me back to my foundation and Who it is that my life is an anchored to. I remind myself of that as the school’s need for me to teach drifts into the past. God never sees me as a once-was or a has-been. He never sees me as someone who was worth something at one time, but is no longer of the same value.

Knowing Jesus gives my life all the worth it needs.

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