Have you ever noticed that during a google search of someone "famous" or "infamous" there is generally a posting about their net worth? There is some conjecture of how much money they made and how much money they are "worth".
Net worth is an accounting term meaning total amount of all assets minus all liabilities. It is financial in nature with the explanation of someone's dollars and cents.
In looking at the words, it almost connotes that net worth is all there is. That is the sum of one's worth. But isn't that term short-sighted? What about someone's worth as a person? To society? To friends and family? What about the intangible worth of a person?
I've been thinking about worth lately. More than the money kind. Do I have worth? What is my purpose? Have I made any difference? What defines worth?
I think some of it has stemmed from a dinner gathering we attended not too long ago. The dinner brought together a bunch of us who were friends when we were in our 20's and 30's but haven't seen each other or connected in any significant way in the last fifteen years. In some ways, the gathering was having a Christmas letter reunion over a delicious repast.
When we were younger our group met regularly and shared our views on life. We listened to each other's employment tales, hopes, dreams and romances. When we gathered for this reunion, we listened to each other's career paths, retirement plans and long-term relationships. In some ways each person became a laundry list of things and of acquisitions; each person's things became their worth.
It made me kind of sad. What happened to relationship building? To improving the world? To the intangibles like compassion, encouragement, blessing? To sharing God's love with our fellow man?
Isn't there more to life than what one eats and drinks and what one has acquired? Does it really matter where one is on the pecking order of life?
The word "worth" has a couple of meanings: the value equivalent to that of someone or something under consideration; the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated; or high value or merit.
I am trying to remember that as a child of God each one of us has high value and merit. We are formed in His image. As the old saying goes, "God don't make no junk." There is so much more to a person than his/her net worth. I think of all the quiet and small ways millions of people care for one another: sharing encouragement, physical items, time, resources. All the seemingly insignificant ways that the world is changed little by little; through thoughtfulness, respect, self-sacrifice, honoring one another, listening, treating others how you would want to be treated.
I am reminded of the scene in the movie, "While You Were Sleeping." One of the male characters Peter laments that he hasn't done anything truly heroic his entire life.
Lucy, played by Sandra Bullock says, "You give up your seat every day in the train."
Peter replies, "Well... But that's not heroic."
To which Lucy replies, "It is to the person who sits in it."
The one who gives up the seat is a person of worth.
What about you? Have you ever thought about your worth? If your liabilities outweigh your assets (physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually) how can you turn that around? Are there things you need to give up in order to invest in a life of worth? What would that look like for you?