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On Work & Worth

Here is something that I want myself to know (and, you too if you need the reminder): our worth is more than our work.

Our world tells us again and again to do more so that we can BE more. We should work harder and faster and produce more good things (necessary or not) so that we can look back at our lives with satisfaction and accomplishment. We’re encouraged to be ambitious (something that Austin reminded me this morning is not a biblical principle), and to be busy.

But here’s the hard truth: we will always — at one point or another — find ourselves on an ordinary day, tired and wiped out, unable to produce or keep the pace. And it’s there that the enemy wants to tell us that our worth is diminished because our work has stopped.

And it’s just not true. In fact, it’s an un-Gospel teaching. Because the Gospel says that I don’t have worth before God because of what I have done, but because of everything Jesus has done; I’m not precious to God because I’m impressive, I’m dear to His heart because of who he is.

I’m preaching this message to myself this morning. In a season of ministry where it’s tempting to always be “on,” where there aren’t natural breaking points in the journey, and where there are lots of gray lines between what is my “job” and what is just fun (because, quite honestly, they overlap most of the time because I LOVE what I’m doing), I need this reminder: my worth is more than my work. I’m not defined by my agenda or income or ambition or productivity. I’m defined — you are definedby the never-ending, never-giving-up love of Jesus. And THAT is all the worth we could ever need.

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  1. Thank you for this reminder, Amy. I have been thinking about this often, as my two loving, godly parents seem to just be marking time before they die (ages 95 and 97, and no major diseases, just old age). They don’t “produce” anything, yet scripture teaches that “being full of years” is a blessing from God.
    I think, too, one of the idols of our culture is ambition/success/productivity. Our identity is our profession, too often. The Lord was so faithful to me to free me from this particular snare through a series of events 3 years ago. I became a prof at a Christian college right out of grad school and that was my primary, preferred identity for 19 years. After a 3 year hiatus, I am returning to that role, but praying that, by God’s grace, I have a right attitude, seeing my job as kingdom service, but not as who I am.

  2. The title of this post really caught my attention. I’m currently going through your sabbath study and struggling with feeling like I haven’t earned a sabbath because I haven’t worked hard enough throughout the week. I am learning so much about the God’s heart an intention for sabbath but the feeling of “I haven’t worked hard enough” just isn’t leaving. This post has been a reminder of how my focus is too much on what I have done and not enough on what Jesus has done.

    1. I had to learn that too! Especially in this world of calculable, tangible results … it’s easy to feel like our ordinary work “doesn’t count.” But that’s not God’s economy! Glad to be learning alongside you. He is enough!

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