Discovering your true worth is a journey. In our effort to find our great worth, many of us become deceived and believe we have found real worth when really we have found nothing more than a false sense of significance. We can be much like a prospector during the California gold rush who staked all his dreams on shimmering rocks that ended up not being worth a thing.
In Luke 15 Jesus tells a parable of a son who takes this journey to discoveringhis worth. It is a timeless story that mirrors our own. Our first introductionto this son reveals how, deceived by his sinful nature and the values of theworld, his view of his worth was skewed. Rather than recognize the wonder ofbeing loved by a wise father, he saw himself imprisoned in a religious home.This son had a father who loved both his sons so much that he had perhaps announcedthat both of them would share fully in the inheritance after his death. Ratherthan recognize the value of his father’s love, this son focused on thevalue of his father’s possessions. After a time he could think of nothingelse except the inheritance and how he would spend it so much better than hisfather and older brother. He would travel the world and use wealth to prove hisworth. So intoxicated by the thoughts of the worth that awaited him, he madethe audacious request to ask his father for his inheritance while his fatherwas still alive.
When the father consented, the son rushed off to live in a distant country andtried to find worth from what the world had to offer. There was a long periodwhen he was living his dream and getting the sense that he had found all hisheart wanted. But a famine in the land drove prices up and quickly brought himto bankruptcy. Without money to define him, he hired himself to a pig farmer,where once again he began to miscalculate his worth. As he considered the predicamenthe was in, so poor and hungry that he longed for pig food, he remembered hisfather. He believed that he was not worth being his father’s son again,but he thought that perhaps he could become one of his father’s hired servants.He knew he would receive food and decent pay if he was employed by his father.He couldn’t be positive he was worth that much to his father, but he feltit merited a trip home to see.
When the son was a long way off, his father ran out to meet him. The son toldhis father: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am nolonger worthy to be called your son (Luke 15:21). Although he also plannedto ask for a job as a hired servant, his father never gave him a chance. Rather,his father welcomed him back as his son, dressing him in fine robes, and specialrings and celebrating with a huge banquet.
The son searched for worth from how much money he had, what he could spend moneyon, and what he could do—become a hired hand, but none of that gave hima sense of worth. The son finally discovered his great worth when he receivedhis father’s love. He had this worth all along, but he never understoodit until he saw himself as unworthy of such a love. Do you know your great worth?I don’t think you will really recognize it until you discover your unworthiness.Facing your unworthiness leads to the discovery of your great worth!