Nov 21, 2016
Many of us fall prey to finding our value in this world from things like how much money we have, how impressive our career is, and other material-based or awards-based achievements. Today I wanted to remind all of us, including myself, of the importance of seeking our value as a person and our value to this society in ourselves and the love and gifts we have to offer those around us.
I've been slowly making my way through a study by She Reads Truth called Letters to Timothy, which is an 18-day reading plan that includes daily readings from Timothy, along with other passages from the bible, and an article by the She Reads Truth writers. Here's an overview:
Paul’s letters to Timothy remind us of our truest context—we are sinners saved by grace, and our lives are to be an overflow of that life-saving, life-changing reality. While Paul's other letters are to congregations, these are from a trusted mentor to his spiritual son. And though the letters contain specific and important instructions for the Church, the overarching tone is more than a list of dos and don’ts. It is an earnest charge from a father in the faith: Live in light of the Gospel.
Today's reading was about money, which I found very fitting since that's something that is constantly on my mind right now. Having lost my job back in February and lost my unemployment checks in September, I've actually never been so lacking in funds in my life. Well, maybe when I was a baby, but I was the girl who put all her babysitting money in her savings account and generally spent frugally, minus some special treats here and there.
Part of today's reading included the following verses:
"But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world." 1 Timothy 6:6-7
This really struck me because it reminded me that all these things that we have or want in this world are just that - things. In the long run of eternal life, they really don't mean anything. No matter how much we collect or accumulate during this life, it's not coming with us!
I must say, however, that there's nothing inherently wrong with enjoying material things. Many of us find great joy from beautiful things, from expressing ourselves through our fashion or our homes, or even love to spend our money on amazing life experiences. That's perfectly fine! I actually love that Paul addresses being rich in his letter to Timothy:
"As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:17-19
The point of this message is not to get so wrapped up in money that we define our value on material things and wealth.
Our value is found in the fact that we are all children of God, of the universe. We are all given talents, gift and love to share with others - that is where our value stems from, not from how much money we have or what our salaries are.
But it's so easy to forget this, isn't it?
I have to throw my hand up and say I'm very guilty of putting my value in money. While job searching, I've scoffed at some salaries, thinking I'm worth so much more than that! Or what would people think of me if I only made that much? When what I really should be thinking of is how much do I really need to survive? How much do I really need to buy groceries, pay rent, pay back loans, and still have enough to enjoy life's experiences?
We have nothing to prove.
We don't have to show people we are of value based on how much money we make, or how nice our clothes are, or how fancy the car is that we drive. We are all equally valuable human beings in the world, no matter our income. Just like everything else I learn from being a Christian, this message is something I have to work on daily, because I am perfectly imperfect in my human ways.