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What’s My Net Worth?


(It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all only in a nightmare. All day long we are in some degree helping each other to one or other of these destinations It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors

 

- C.S. Lewis

 

This quote is one I had to read and reread several times to capture its intent. It describes the human soul… it’s destiny within Christ and its alternate judgement without Him.

 

I am not a wealthy man by the standard of many… but since I have a house and a car and running tap water many would say I am, for these are three things that many on this planet do not have.

 

A number of years ago we had house guests from Latin America. When they entered our modest split level 3 bedroom home they were astonished at the room. The young lady exclaimed that our home was like a mansion in Hollywood movies… and we gained a bit of perspective that day. There is always someone wealthier… and there is always someone poorer - wealth is highly subjective.

 

All of that aside, I’ll ask the question ”what is my net worth?” Of course I am not speaking of my financial net worth but rather my net worth as a human being. Is there a hierarchy for worth? Am I worth more… or less than my neighbor’s? Is my worth tied to what I do? Maybe it’s tied to my capabilities, my position or my status in society?

 

We were going through my mother-in-laws belongings as she had moved into a care home. There are a number of items that she had made that we immediately considered a family heirloom. Now… to someone who never knew my mother-in-law, these items would have no real value. They would be just a blanket, just a doll, or just a hand knitted pair of mittens, however to someone who knew “mom” and had a relationship with her these items would have substantially more value in every sense because of the relationship with their creator. As such, we see that value is often not in the raw material goods of the item in question but rather in connection to the relationship with its creator.

 

Science has determined that the chemicals that make up the human body are worth an estimated $550,000 in raw materials (organs and chemicals). It is morbid to speak of that… but is that all I am worth?

 

As I see it there are two primary and competing views of human beings value in todays world.

 

  • One belief says that humans are here randomly, that we are only biological beings with no soul... no better than animals. This belief says that we are here because of random chemical processes that created life from nothing.

  • Another belief says that out of nothing a vastly intelligent designer created the entire universe and created human beings to live on this earth.

 

In essence, one side believes out of nothing came life, and the other believes life was created from nothing.

 

It is important that we answer the question, “What is our worth?”. Our answer will determine our outlook on the value of human life and how we are to treat others. If all we are is biological beings - no different than animals... then logic, reason and morality lose their position and there is no value on our existence. If we are mere cosmological dust and just a part of the biological food chain subject to the “law” of “survival of the fittest” it will diminish the value we place on human life... including our own.

 

Conversely, if we determine that we have a creator who deeply values us and we have relationship with that creator… then every human life has value far beyond the tangible sum of our chemicals and biology. Our value would not be determined by capacity to contribute to society, intelligence, looks or status.

 

Bertrand Russell, an atheistic, highly influential philosopher and mathematician in the mid fifties had this to say about man:

 

“That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins.”

 

Inspiring words right?

 

Is Bertrand right?

 

Some of the darkest moments in history have been rooted in the idea that we are not created… that humans are nothing more than the sum of their biological parts. This belief is the foundation of caste systems - the idea that some are more evolved… even more valuable than others. Out of such thinking came the coliseums of Rome where the rejected humans would die to entertain the masses. Out of such thinking came the Middle Ages where corrupt Church leaders thought it moral to slaughter those who they did not agree with. Out of such thinking millions of Jews were killed in the Second World War.

 

As I write these words I hear echos of these quotes:

 

Martin Luther King said:

 

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

 

Abraham Lincoln mouthed these words during his famous Gettysburg Address:

 

our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

 

The very constitution of the United States… from which Abraham was quoting says these words:

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

 

In a world where women had no voice, slavery was epidemic and children were not considered to have value, both the old and New Testament contain many supporting texts on the value of a human life. In the Christian community of the first century women were elevated, children were valued and race and status mattered not… everyone had equal value.

 

Psalm 139 says this:

 

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”

 

The Gospel of John records these words:

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved”

 

Genesis 9 says this:

 

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, 

by man shall his blood be shed, 

for God made man in his own image.”

 

 

One more passage here, though there are many more…

 

Galatians says this:

 

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

 

We can see that humans are deeply valuable… therefore I am also valuable to my creator… to the degree He died for my mistakes. I am filled with gratitude and thanksgiving!

 

The Gospel according to John says:

 

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

He did not wait for me to prove my value through what I do, my status, or ladder up to a level of perfection. He foresaw my life, my mistakes and my shortcomings and took my sentence as his own… giving me a relationship with my creator for eternity.

 

That… is valuable!

 

So what’s my net worth?

 

I am so valuable that I am priceless... and so are you!

 

The creator of the universe wants an eternal relationship with you today! He doesn’t expect your perfection… as it will be HIS perfection that gets you into the main event. He only wants to spend time with you… to allow His Goodness and His infinite holiness to work through you.

 

 

 

 

 

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