What's your net worth?
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
After a tumble of the stock market earlier this spring, the Monitor reported on April 17 that "more than $2.4 trillion of stock wealth [had] vanished since US markets peaked March 10."
It's possible to understand the shock that people, companies, and organizations that have endured declines like this might feel. On the other hand, are they really less wealthy? And what about those who have no investments in the first place - how do they determine their worth from day to day?
An interesting question is "What would a balance sheet of your worth to God look like? You are more than immensely important to God. You are absolutely necessary to Him. God created you as His witness, to express His perfection. As an expression of God, qualities like intelligence, love, unselfishness, are indelibly marked under your "credits."
What about "debits," though? One could argue that we would find all of our sins in a debit column - the character flaws, the harsh words to someone, those broken Commandments. And yet, we won't find sins in an account of our worth to God. God sees us as He made us - in His own image and likeness, as the Bible says. We have no debits in God's sight.
The truth is, we are each the image of God, no matter how much we may be feeling sinful or mortal. "And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God" (Rom. 9:26). You are treasured by God not because of any great thing you have done but solely because you are His creation. This establishes your worth.
Without His children, God would not be the infinite Father-Mother. Without your individual expression of His compassion, intelligence, and vigor, God would not be unlimited Love, Mind, and Life. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, confirmed this in the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "If God, who is Life, were parted for a moment from His reflection, man, during that moment there would be no divinity reflected. The Ego would be unexpressed, and the Father would be childless, - no Father" (pg. 306).
Seeing the truth about our worth to God is what gives us the courage to overcome things in our lives that don't express His perfection. Any flaw can be destroyed through persistently striving to be what God made us to be. And knowing who we truly are can reverse situations that call our worth into question.
An experience I had when I was in the farming business helped me understand this. One year when I applied for my annual operating loan, the bank rejected it on the basis that I had not demonstrated sufficient responsibility. I felt that I needed the loan in order to continue farming. But it was even more disheartening to feel that my character was being questioned.
At first, I tried to justify to myself how dependable I had been. But I soon realized that I needed to identify myself not as a good person by my own merits, but as a child of the one totally good God. As such, I had to possess all of His qualities - qualities that made me act with responsibility, integrity, and intelligence.
After praying to understand myself in this way for several days, I decided to appeal the bank's decision. A hearing was set up with the governing board. During the hearing, I felt as if I was standing up for the truth of God's creation, not just defending some personal worth I believed I had. Afterward, the board stated that my character was solid, and I was allowed to continue with the loan application process.
Our value can't be accurately judged by a tally of our good and bad human qualities, by the size of our savings, or by any other material gauge. It can only be seen by looking at the nature of God and seeing how as God's sons and daughters we possess that same nature. Each day we can prove a little more of our permanent worth as God's child, and find this bringing into our lives greater happiness, health, and true wealth.
You can visit the home page of The First Church of Christ, Scientist: www.tfccs.com
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society