Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
What is God worth? This isn’t meant to be a cynical question, but our hearts can likely find cynical answers. We can easily articulate the “correct” answer while the eyes of our heart roll in practiced indifference. I’d like to explore five areas of God’s worth for Christians. However, a few clarifications may prove useful.
- Worth has many varied meanings; however, the definition assumed in this post is “deserving of due to limitless value”.
- God’s worth can’t be condensed into five points. The points raised here simply serve as sources of reflection.
1. God is worth your praise
Lifted hands, hearts, and souls happen when we abandon all our concerns and contemplate the unthinkable greatness of God. He is worthy enough to outweigh the concerns of this world. However, he may not be regarded as such if our hearts have esteemed circumstances, possessions, or relationships more highly than Him.
As Michael Card states in A Sacred Sorrow, “And that is the central issue of worship: What is God worth? In fact, the first primitive form of the word was “worth-ship.” Our praise is directly related to our estimation of God’s worth. Indisputably, God is worth our total praise; what is our praise worth?
2. God is worth your time
It is perplexing that get-rich-quick schemes are viewed with skepticism while get-spiritual-quick schemes are readily embraced. Six-week studies, weekend seminars, online conferences, and an abundance of other spiritual emphasis opportunities are readily available. My intention is not to belittle spiritual resources; but it is my intention to provoke reflection on where our true reliance is. Are we depending on God for a lifetime of sustaining grace or are we trusting our own abilities to complete a weekend spiritual checkoff? God is worth a lifetime of daily study, prayer, and meditation.
3. God is worth your honesty
In our spiritual cleverness we suppress our true identities into subconsciousness. The facade of our image is refined, polished, and precise. The reality of our being is scattered, rugged, and desperate. Brennan Manning calls the polished version of ourselves the impostor. He articulates the deceptive nature of the impostor in his book, Abba’s Child.
The impostor prompts us to attach importance to what has no importance, clothing with a false glitter what is least substantial and turning us away from what is real. The false self causes us to live in a world of delusion. The impostor is a liar. Our false self stubbornly blinds each of us to the light and the truth of our own emptiness and hollowness. We cannot acknowledge the darkness within. On the contrary the impostor proclaims his darkness as the most luminous light, varnishing truth and distorting reality. This brings to mind the apostle John’s words: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8, NIV).”
The irony is that as we cling to our pristine images we actually diminish the glory of God. His grace is sufficient to deal with our shortcomings through forgiveness and sanctification. So fess up to who you are because He is worth our honesty.
4. God is worth the fight
We are not called to count the cost of the Christian life for no reason. There is a cost. There are sacrifices to be made, a fight to be fought, and a race to be run. All our worldly possessions must be willingly abandoned; all our iniquities must be brutally attacked; and all of our divine callings must be relentlessly pursued. The gain of God is worth it all. Whatever we may have counted as gain has to be considered loss as we value God enough to see even death itself as ultimate gain (Philippians 3:7-8). Fight!
5. God is worth your suffering
If our perspectives are radically changed by the gospel, then our outlook towards suffering is not surprise or resentment. We rejoice in sharing Christ’s sufferings so that we may also be glad when His glory is revealed (1 Peter 4:13). In other words, God is worth our suffering. Prepare yourself for this privilege.
Where is your heart? You can get an accurate answer to that question by honestly assessing your perspective towards praise, the time you invest in the spiritual disciplines, the true nature of your spiritual identity, how hard you wage spiritual war, and your willingness to suffer with Christ. These points of reflection will point to where your treasure is and either reflect the image of Christ or that of your “impostor”.
So here we are. Our time is precious. Our lives are mixtures of joy and sorrow. Our reputations precede us. Life isn’t easy; especially the Christian life. If you and I are honest there is a haunting question that is ever before us: Is God worth it? Is God worth the sacrifice of our ambitions? Is God worth the faith that leads us into valleys? When our lives are falling apart, is He worth holding on?
Revelation 5:1-10 “Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
Is He worth it when the midnight call comes? Is He worth it when the diagnosis is grim? Is He worth abstaining from the treasures of this world? Is He worth our total surrender? Yes! For the sake of eternity, yes!