Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Burden of Worth

I keep all my books. I'm know it drives my wife crazy as the bookshelves overflow and every other nook and cranny is filled. But I like being able to go back and reference what I've read. Often circumstances, mood, or even just a different attention span will bring new insights to light.

So it was with this chapter of The Pursuit of God by A.W, Tozer. Had I reviewed it any other day, at any other time, this post would likely be completely different. You see yesterday I had a rough day at work. And as I was struggling to identify just what it was that put me into my funk I read:
"Think for yourself whether much of your sorrow has not arisen from someone speaking slightingly of you. As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal there will be those who will delight to offer affront to your idol. How then can you hope to have inward peace? The heart's fierce effort to protect itself from every slight, to shield its touchy honor from the bad opinion of a friend and enemy, will never let the mid have rest. Continue this fight through the years and the burden will become intolerable." (pg 79, emphasis added)
Looking back, I realize that I have taken some circumstances at work, that really have nothing at all to do with me, personally. And this is a burden I've been carrying for far too long. I've let the atmosphere of funding cuts, budget slashes, and future uncertainty cloud my heart with insecurity. I've allowed what others think, or at least what I think others think, to define my worth.

My wife and I were talking about this not too long ago: the difference between value and worth. If you put something up for bid on ebay, that something is worth whatever someone else is willing to pay for it. But if you hold a reserve, it has a different value to you. Another way to look at it is if you have a precious jewel. It may be worth millions if you were to sell it. But it is more valuable to you so you do not. Worth depends on another's opinion, but value is inherent to what it is. So when it comes to insecurities, we allow others to define our worth and forget our intrinsic value. Ironically, as we were talking, I was concerned with my wife's self-esteem, and completely missed the opportunity to take this lesson for myself.

Tozer puts it this way: "He rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values. He will be patient to wait for the day when everything will get its own price tag and real worth will come into its own." (pg 80) The "he" Tozer describes is him who understands what it means to be "meek" by allowing Jesus to take on his burdens and that his value is as a new creation in Christ.

I like this description best: "He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring." (pg 80)

I will finish this week at work. Then the month. And soon the year. In that time I will come to terms with the fact that no one is out to get me. Prayerfully, my heart will lower its defenses and allow Jesus to define my value- not my job, not my successes (and failures), not my coworkers or colleagues. I pray that I will come to grips that the world will never see me as God sees me, and pray that I will stop caring. That simple quote may be the most important thing I've read in a long time.

This blog is part of a book club reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. Please join the discussion here and at our hosts, Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter. Need a copy of the book? You can get it for free on Kindle.


jasonS said...

Frank, you are not alone. When you were talking about "at least what I think others think," I definitely relate. I'm better than I used to be, but it's still a temptation to figure out "what they really meant" by what they said. Most of the time it's useless speculation and a waste of energy. Our value is in Him. Great distinction between worth and value--love that. Thanks so much, Frank.

Fatha Frank said...

Thanks for the comment, Jason. I once heard a joke that described me perfectly- I'm the guy in the stands during a football game who wonders if the players are talking about me when they huddle. That is a huge part of my nature that I am constantly called to deny. Like anything, some days are better than others.