WORTH. It's a term we hear much about. Often it's used to describe efforts to gain a positive feeling about our own value on the basis of the work we do or the things we achieve.
But many times we find that after working long and hard to achieve such "worth," there remains a feeling of dissatisfaction. We may then tend to push into something new--but still seeking worth from work. And so goes the cycle. Is this really something new, then? Hardly. The writer of Ecclesiastes must have known how futile it is to define our worth on this limited basis. He writes, "What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?" And he also comments: "I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit."
Can self-worth really be found in what we do, what we achieve, how much money we earn? No, not really. Worth is something we have because we are man made in God's image. The Bible tells us about this true man and his--our--worth. It describes man as made in the likeness of divine Spirit. Since man is this likeness of God, Spirit, he naturally has the full spiritual value that God gives him. Our substance is in the creator and in the oneness of man with Him.
God creates and loves each one of us fully, so each one has spiritual excellence. In one of Christ Jesus' parables, he tells of a man who hires laborers for his farm. Some work all day, while others work as little as one hour. But the landowner pays them all the same. Can't the parable be seen as indicating that each worker was of equal value as man--as God's child?
Isn't it the same with all of us, today? Worth is something we have because of our relationship to God. We can't achieve it, just as we can't lose it. It's part of the outpouring of God's love for what He creates. This does not mean, of course, that we should not work. We all have a responsibility to utilize our worth--to make a contribution--and there is great happiness in making that contribution. But it is our God-given stature that makes our work valuable--not our work that determines our value.
Our worth, then, originates in God's own nature and being. He is the perfect One, complete and full of goodness. This is why we are valuable regardless of the work we do, regardless of such factors as age, gender, race, background. Understanding our fundamental spiritual perfection brings an unselfed quality of thought to our work. Then our work stands as an expression of God, done for His glory. It's just the opposite of burying ourselves in our work to hide a nagging sense of incompleteness.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, herself no stranger to long hours and hard work, says in her Message to The Mother Church for 1902: "Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can." For me that phrase "through His tenure" has been a spiritual keynote to both man's substance and work. It emphasizes that our imp ortance comes through man's own spiritual selfhood. If we let God mold our thought of ourselves and our work after His own model, we are allowing God to govern what we do and how we do it. Just the same holds true for our worth. We are the genuine article--God's offspring--and we can know it! We won't need our achievements to prove it. We will do what we do because we are, indeed, full of spiritual worth.