Have you ever felt that others were determining your value and worth to society based on your age? Sadly, now, and throughout history, growing older often symbolizes depreciation of value in the eyes of the world.
For example, the book of Leviticus indicates that in Bible times, if a person wanted to make a vow to God, he could offer himself or another to God by paying the sanctuary a monetary equivalent of the person’s predetermined value based on age and gender (see 27:3-8).
This practice may have represented one of the highest ways people knew how to worship God in those times, but the passage can be troubling to modern readers. Having our value be determined by our age (or gender) reveals a misconception about our true worth. This misconception is based on the general belief that we are merely fleshly beings who mature and hopefully find our purpose, accumulate experience and skills over a period of years, and then finally reach our peak of usefulness. After that, we are pushed aside and begin to decline.
Is it any wonder that this view of life and identity can lead to feelings of emptiness and despair? The good news is that we can find hope and healing by understanding that as the likeness of God (see Genesis 1:26, 27), divine Spirit, our substance is actually spiritual, reflecting spiritual qualities such as joy, beauty, and strength. These spiritual qualities have no material element, so they cannot fade, deteriorate, or become worthless. They’re as unchanging and permanent as God. This shows everyone’s eternal value as the image and likeness of God.
One of the greatest statements of true worth is found in the book of Matthew in the Bible. Christ Jesus is being baptized by John. As Jesus comes up out of the water, it is recorded that there is “a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
Even though Jesus is no longer walking the earth, the spirit of Christ – which Jesus expressed so perfectly – is still present today and forever, communicating to human thought the truth of our being, which reflects the divine nature. This Christ message comes directly to our thought and imparts the fact of our inestimable value as the beloved son or daughter of God, in whom He perpetually delights. It tells us of our never-ending purpose to express God’s beauty, perfection, wholeness, goodness, and strength.
This divine purpose is important and valuable to God right now and always. We are always cherished by God. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, wrote: “If God, who is Life, were parted for a moment from His reflection, man, during that moment there would be no divinity reflected” (p. 306). As the expression of God, who is infinite and eternal, we are the forever proof that God is acting, moving, knowing, being – and magnificent. What a worthwhile value we have!
When does this purpose of expressing God end? Never. His expression is eternal. Our spiritual qualities are evergreen. Understanding this, even a little, can bring us a deeper sense of purpose, value, and strength.
None of us needs to let our value be defined by years. We can begin to overcome beliefs of age limitations by understanding that our true substance is spiritual and eternal, like our creator, divine Spirit; that we are the loved child of God; and that our unique identity and purpose as His treasured expression are lasting and invaluable to God throughout eternity.
This article was adapted from an article in the Sept. 12, 2016, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.