Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jesus Said People Were Worthless

Last week a federal appeals court ruled that much of the money lost to Bernard Madoff's humongous Ponzi scheme is lost forever and ever and ever. The funny thing is their reasoning.

It was never there to begin with.

Seems lots of investors are straggling about clamoring to get their money back, and they are finding stark ugly reality whacking them up-side the head. The value assessments they thought were veritable were not exactly that. In other words, somebody somewhere sounding really on-the-ball about these things told them their value was one thing, and, well, it wasn't.

Even funnier -- or sobering if you'd rather -- is that Jesus said something even more stunning.

You're worthless.

Hey, don't take my word for it. Look in the gospel of Luke, 19th chapter, 22nd verse. Jesus spoke of someone who was supposed to take the value of their God-given gift to do something valuable for someone, and they didn't. What did Jesus say to this person? Did He say, "No big, just live and be happy"? Did He say, "You're a winner inside and just unlock that wonderfulness"? Did He say, "I love you anyway"?

Ahem, He said

You're worthless.

And what is more amazing is that He added it was proven by the very words the worthless person spoke.

We don't usually think of Jesus calling people worthless. But the truth is we are. We're all just tiny bits of stardust held together by the laws of physics God put in place. God can make us a vapor with barely a breath. It is comical to think so many of us are so deluded to think we are even close to anything.

The amazing thing is that even so... He still loves us enough to die for us, so that we will be -- to use a phrase -- worthful. It is by Him that we have anything, anything to be who He made us to be and enjoy the beauty of His creation humbly, graciously, appreciatively.

The real problem comes in when we think we're worthful without Him, and we go around like Madoff investors thinking there are clothes on the Emperor when, well...

The further problem comes when all the megaphone blastings of the World seep into our consciences and convince us that we're something because of ___ (fill in the blank: job, house, reputation, income, smarts, education, possessions, status, standing, privilege -- lots more I'm sure you can think of).

I've recently had a very tumultous summer in which I've been in settings where the worthlessness is amplified, and the contrast is striking. Some people out there waaay more exposed worthlessness-wise, while most walk through life thinking they're something and they are very successful trying to get away with it for a while. But the fact is

We're all worthless. Each and every one of us.

The World will tell you you're worthful through all the splendid World things there are. The Kingdom tells you something very different:

You're only worthful by His blood.

I've found that the more one lets the Kingdom words of redemption and restoration and righteousness from Him in spite of our rank worthlessness, the more one finds that which is truly valuable and how much He wants us to enjoy that.