What is your worth? Have you ever stopped to ask that question, or more importantly, have you ever felt like it was already in question? How do you weigh the answer?
Unfortunately, if you’re like a lot of people in today’s world, you weigh it as if it were a game.
A Game of Heroes
There is a video game I have played where five players are pitted against five other players to destroy the other team’s base first. This typically requires fighting down three lanes toward the “Core” – the thing to be destroyed.
In most of my games there are players of varying skills. Some are bad and some are good, but most get that you work together to fight.
Most get it. Some don’t.
Inevitably in about one of every ten or so games there is someone who just stays in their lane, quite literally, fighting by themselves against easily killed minions, racking up lots of points but doing little to help the game. As the team is at the core, taking on the enemy and winning the match, that person is still cluelessly mowing down minions and do nothing of value.
When it’s all over, the algorithms in the game check for all the deaths, kills, points, etc. and often decide this person is the MVP. The game, unfortunately, can only look at the points. The people that really won the game are left on the sidelines, while the clueless MVP gives themselves smug self-congratulations on a job well done.
The fact that this wrongly appointed hero gets the coveted honor is not that big of a deal. The fact that they will continue doing the same thing thinking it’s the right thing is worse, but in the grand scheme of things is not that bad; it’s just a game.
The problem is that many people live life exactly this way. When you ask yourself what is your worth, It’s not the point system.
The Point System
May people live life by the point system. Money has become all important. In the US we consider money equal to speech. We consider someone’s income to be an important factor in their worth. We are considering evaluating immigrants on their financial contributions, not even bothering to see that during a crisis we consider them essential workers.
We have become so enamored with wealth and the wealthy that we measure our worth by our “points”, not by what we truly contribute. In fact, we measure our worth not in our inherent value as a human being, but in the worth attributed to us by others.
What is your worth? I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not your contribution to capitalism. As much value as a free market has and the exchange of goods and services for currency is, your earning potential does not define you. If it did, my mother would have been worthless.
A Worthless Saint
For most of my life my mother did not earn an income. She was a pastor’s wife. She played the organ every Sunday. She greeted people. She talked with people. She ministered to people. She provided counseling. She ran weekly Bible study. She supported my father as pastor.
That’s in addition to caring for 4 kids, doing all the household chores, cooking, cleaning, etc. My parents started their ministry in a church of less than 50 and ended it with over a thousand in weekly attendance.
But it wasn’t about the “points” of the people in the pew. It was because they showed people they mattered. They helped people. The loved people. They spent their week going to parishioner’s businesses, homes, get-togethers, and more.
Everyone who knew my mom loved my mom. If someone asked “what is your worth?” She would know. And yet by standards of a money-hungry world, she would have been worthless. A loser. Unskilled.
A Different Scale
What is your worth? Is it in the dollars you bring in? Is it in the billionaires you help to prop up? Is it in the bloated companies you keep from collapsing through your tireless toil?
Or is it something more?
Maybe we’re not worth simply how we effect the bottom line. Maybe when people ask “what do you do” the true answer is deeper than just the thing that pays the bills. Maybe who we are and what we’re worth is something much deeper and something way more valuable.