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Work 5: Worth

Question:

By what measuring stick do you gauge your worth and the worth of others?

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Transcript of Video:

The Book of Genesis tells us quite clearly that work is a gracious gift from God, something which gives meaning and purpose to human beings. And work can be a source of enormous delight. There is nothing better than that wonderful sense of satisfaction at a piece of work well done. And it’s almost like we can be like God and standing back and saying, “Yes that was very good.”

But we also know that work can also be experienced as toil, as something that’s grueling, as something that is actually dehumanizing. The Book of Genesis tries to explain what’s behind that, and the story of the Fall of man is a way of trying to express this experience of alienation, that things are not right in the world, our relationship with the world is not right, our relationship with work is not right. And so, for many people, work is experienced in this negative sense.

But I think the Scriptures tell us that the good news is that Christ came to redeem all of life, including work, and that in Christ we can re-experience something of God’s original gift in our own lives. I think for many people, whether they really know it or not, there is a kind of deep sense that how they perform is directly related to their worth; their value as human beings is dependent on how well they perform in their work. And of course, Christ came to tell us that our worth in the eyes of God has nothing to do with how well we perform. Our worth is infinite because God loves us, and Christ, in his life, death, and resurrection opens the gates to eternal life and opens our heart to receive the grace of God. And that grace tells us that you are loved. You are loved, and that has nothing to do with your portfolio and nothing to do with your resume. Praise be to God!

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram

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72 Comments

  1. Helen Chandler on April 4, 2015 at 05:43

    I am not sure that I have any idea how I measure my worth. When my contribution to a project is received gratefully, that gives me pleasure and a sense of accomplishment. But also I have contributed that which has not been welcomed and yet I stilled believed it was a valuable contribution. But is any of that a measure of worth? I don’t feel it is.

    Roderic’s answer (first response at the top) spoke to me with the analogy of the pupil offering a sound which the teacher can shape. This to me is a beautiful model of how we build relational lives and we are called to do this by giving and sharing of gifts. I am still not sure that it is a measure of worth. I have worth simply because I am.

  2. Roderic Brawn on March 27, 2015 at 07:06

    How can I measure the worth of anyone? I do sometimes judge the worth of people by how well they treat others, and how they think of others. I have a hard thing in my when I cannot accept what others think of me I judge them of lesser worth. Not to judge at all is impossible when we live in the world, because we care for our safety.

  3. Patricia on March 23, 2015 at 16:21

    I don’t know what measuring stick to use in measuring my worth these days. We are now taking from the church, taking from our community, taking from our families — all places where we were engaged and did more than our share and with great joy in being able to do so.

  4. Lissa Davis on March 17, 2015 at 10:58

    It’s easy for me to look at others and feel a warmth that they are children of God and still in the construction phase. But for myself, it is much more difficult. I lost it all in the collapse of 2009 and now scrape by with subsistence employment. Although I’m pretty good at it, I feel that I’m not performing to my potential or really contributing to society.

  5. Lisa on March 17, 2015 at 09:48

    I am going to simplify this question for my little mind – and ask myself when do I feel good about myself and others. Not quite the same question, but good enough! I feel good about myself when I am genuine – not hiding behind a mask wanting someone else’s approval. I feel good when I am truly listening and present for another person (or animal). I feel good when I have completed a task and it was done well. I feel good when I use my time well, exercise my body, my mind and my soul – growing myself as best I can. I feel good about others when they are genuine – willing to risk vulnerability. I feel good about myself when I am making a difference in a situation or someone’s life.

  6. Margaret Drumm on March 16, 2015 at 22:23

    My own value: from the appreciation I receive from others, and from pride when I feel I have done something well.

    My value of others: Above all else, I value warmth, friendliness and humility in others.

    I am not saying this is how it should be. I am saying this is how it is.

  7. Charlotte Williams on March 15, 2015 at 11:55

    I am a person of great value because God created me in His Image and Christ the Light lives within me.

    Everyone else is too.

  8. Louise on March 15, 2015 at 00:02

    By how I treat others and how others treat those they encounter.

  9. shawn on March 14, 2015 at 09:06

    It really doesn’t matter what I do but how I do it.

  10. Lisa on March 14, 2015 at 08:47

    Wow, it’s amazing how rich these responses are. Thank you, brothers. I remember how my daughter’s college application process seemed to take on the proportions of judgement day, for her. The fear of not being good enough loomed large. I learned from her passionate pursuit how I, in contrast, had spent my life never admitting or “going for” what I wanted, assuming my own worthlessness. I held back and did not give of myself, until motherhood transformed me. This was in part because it protected me from ever failing, or feeling I’m not good enough. I didn’t see how fundamental it is to feel like one is ENOUGH, and how those who feel God’s personal love for them shine with the assurance of being more than enough. Those people who accept their fundamental worth give so much to those around them and are examples to me. I want that.

  11. jane on March 13, 2015 at 23:10

    My work of writing wholesome books can result in selling them. Whatever happens I am satisfied that I have produced my best only after many edits, reading aloud and knowing they may be books children or adults will enjoy.
    My work as god`s hands and feet in the parish is done for love and with joy. THere is always a sense of helping others, visiting, taking a meal to an old man or giving a lonely person communion. It is my favourite occupation. It is a way of sharing God`s love. I was busy on Thursday at a service in a senior`s home where I also do a Bible study so this is late being written.

  12. Kimber on March 13, 2015 at 15:46

    I think I do too often feel like my performance is the only thing that counts, the only thing that gives me worth. I know and believe that this is not true, that I am unconditionally loved and accepted by a wonderful God. But when I’ve fallen short of others’ or my own expectations, I do tend to feel worthless. Just this week, I really let down my friend Nancy—I was supposed to give her a ride to church, but I totally forgot. She is someone whose opinion and acceptance I cherish, so it was hard to face the fact that I had simply messed up. I had no excuse or reason for forgetting her—except for being human, that is, which is something hard to accept at times. Fortunately, we do have the kind of friendship that allows me to admit my failing, to ask for and know that I will receive her forgiveness. God is good, declared all of creation very good—that means me, too, in God’s eyes. There may be disappointment with me at times, but God will never question my worth. I am blessed to be God’s precious child.

  13. Susan on March 13, 2015 at 14:51

    I know that we do ‘measure’ ourselves and others, but I find it a troublesome idea. What is the point of this measuring, judging, evaluating, and what is the yardstick against which we measure ourselves?
    It is interesting to notice that when I am doing work that I love, the question of ‘measuring’ doesn’t enter into it. There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’, there is just the work and the love the work.
    And I think this is similar in terms of my love for others: those I love require no measurement, no assessment or evaluation to be worthy of my love. I simply love them. And it is awesome to see this at times – how love doesn’t evaluate, it just is. And I believe this is how God loves us. Simply, truly and forever.

  14. Verlinda Henning on March 13, 2015 at 11:25

    My measuring stick is often harder on myself than others–I tend to cut others more slack than I allow myself.

    As far as what I measure on the stick, it’s things like dependability, honesty, kindness/compassion, initiative and giving your best effort.

  15. ros on March 13, 2015 at 07:18

    I think that if I thinking in terms of worth, this is something I should put down, that the idea of worth is something extra. There is a zen story – a person goes into a butcher shop and asks for the best piece of meat. The butcher says ‘every piece is the best piece’. The challenge is to live out that every piece (of whatever) is the best piece, in its particular uniqueness in this moment.

    thank you for your time

  16. Karen on March 13, 2015 at 00:16

    The measuring stick I use is the ability to be kind, generous, and empathetic. I also like to see people use their God-given talents and reach their potential.

  17. Mark on March 13, 2015 at 00:12

    On how we interact with one another

  18. Karen Fast on March 12, 2015 at 23:08

    This is a good exercise for me because it makes me realize that I generally use one measuring stick for others and another for myself. I gauge another’s worth by their honesty, genuineness, sincerity, integrity, and willingness to help others, regardless of their income or skills or “station” in life. I expect those good qualities in myself, but I expect more too. Now that I am retired, I am still coming to terms with a new identity and sense of self that is not dependent on accomplishments. Thank you for today’s question.

  19. Linda B on March 12, 2015 at 21:56

    My measuring stick of my worth is “Am I open to God’s will, am I vulnerable and open to reach out to others in some way?” I try see that others are valued because they are God’s children and that is enough.

  20. Dee Dee on March 12, 2015 at 21:27

    I find myself worthy when I feel I have succeeded at something — it could be as heavy as looking at my children and realizing that they are becoming productive good citizens, in part because of my parenting; or as light as the satisfaction that comes from saying something that brightens someone’s day, makes someone laugh or feel good about themselves. I find others worthy when I see that they are doing the best they can to be kind, helpful, loving and positive toward other people. Overall, those –including myself — who are trying to live in a caring and loving manner towards others are people who I believe are living worthwhile lives.

  21. Jeff Lowry on March 12, 2015 at 20:18

    Ah the old Protestant Work Ethic as defined by Max Weber. The idea that Northern Europeans having a strong work ethic ()supposedly arising from Calvinist teachings) bringing about stronger capitalism in the late 19th century. That sold very well in the Midwest where I was raised. I am NOT saying there is anything inherently wrong with it. I personally valued people by how much effort they put into whatever task they were performing. Yes I did hold myself to the same standard.

  22. CW on March 12, 2015 at 20:15

    I can’t tell you how appropriate this is for me. I own a small restaurant with a partner who lives in abroad and travels back and forth. Back more than forth. They moved back there yrs ago w the promise of much that has not really happened. I have lost my self worth at work because I am so unhappy. He feels no compassion for me for he knows if I leave he is in deep trouble. He is making me very sad. I am trying to get out and hopefully be able to be happy. He is also very verbally abusive to employees and worse to me. You gave me great hope and reminded me of the love of our Lord who guides me. I sometimes have to stop and remember how much I am loved and not dwell on the negative. This sties is really a joy for me. It is really helping me take steps to improve my myself in many ways. Thank you

    • Susan on March 13, 2015 at 14:45

      May God hold you in love and compassion as you find your way forward. This man is doing wrong by you, you don’t deserve it, you are worthy of love, respect and kindness.

  23. Susan Zimmerman on March 12, 2015 at 20:01

    …the first shall be last and the last shall be first

  24. Margaret Dungan on March 12, 2015 at 17:47

    I find it hard to follow the advice of the “Word” for to day.I am 80 years old and everything that I feel called to do is usually a surprise in my day.It is my availability on the spur of the moment that is valuable and I am grateful when I can answer these calls in a positive way.

    Margaret.

  25. Nicki on March 12, 2015 at 17:01

    I have very high standards, and the closer I come to meeting those standards, the higher is my worth, to me. I had to fight through a barrage of emotional neglect/abuse in my formative years, but thanks to God’s love, they never won. The work was hard, I suffered backslides, and I experienced welcome surges forward, until at forty-nine, I began, in serious therapy, to figure out why I was still clumsily tripping myself up-thirty years ago. Then, I learned my inner certainty of my worth could grow. In church I was hearing about God’s love, and began to believe it included me. Thanks both to therapy and to wonderful sermons, the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, lots of great study, and a church full of good people and clergy, I had a great team to run with. I’m still at it!
    Gradually I gratefully allowed God’s love in, and learned it was God who had been there all the time escorting me through the mire.
    So, I think that God’s creation and love make us all worth everything we are, and will allow ourselves to become.

  26. Kenneth Knapp on March 12, 2015 at 16:48

    I have to admit that I tend to use financial measures…even though I know that I shouldn’t.

  27. beth on March 12, 2015 at 16:15

    The skill and talent you have are God’s gift to you; what you with them are your gift to God. So my measure is the extent to which each person is maximizing their skills/talents as gifts to God; the positive impact on their community.

  28. Sophfronia on March 12, 2015 at 16:06

    By what measuring stick do I gauge my worth and the worth of others? This is it: “God don’t make no junk.” Goes for everyone. Enough said. Please excuse the double negative.

  29. Randy Ruffin on March 12, 2015 at 16:02

    It’s interesting to reflect on how my judgments with regard to my own worth and that of others have changed over time. As a young person, I was definitely an achiever and a pleaser of others – and my worth came from good grades, offices held, honors won, etc. I was rather dismissive of those I felt didn’t work/study hard. In my early adulthood, I encountered a faith-based work where service and giving 100% were key and so honors and recognition were out the window, but I still sought to please and derived my worth from how well I was performing. I could be quite judging of those who I felt were not living in the right spirit, or were cutting corners, etc. I also found myself comparing myself to classmates who had gone on to higher degrees and more recognizable accomplishments and felt less worthy – at least at times! I think I’ve increasingly come to deriive my sense of worth from knowledge of God’s love on the one hand and from feeling that I am doing what I’m called and perhaps uniquely gifted to do and that I have nothing to prove or justify. I can still be judging of others when I feel they have been slipshod in performing a task, but I don’t believe it impacts my view of their fundamental worth – in God’s eyes or mine. …at least I hope and pray that this is the case! A very good question!

  30. Pati on March 12, 2015 at 15:58

    If everyone sincerely does the best they can do .. to their own standard – that should be good enough for any human … ( I don’t think God uses a measuring stick) …. We beat ourselves up way too much .. and are hurt too much when it is a thoughtless “boss” who does not treat us with respect … It’s good to remember that we are Loved no matter what.

  31. Christopher Engle Barnhart on March 12, 2015 at 15:34

    After 40 years working as an architect, I am now retired, although I do do consulting for my church. When one views work, it can be many kinds of work. The simple task of making soup or preparing meals or cleaning house, etc. are work. If one can view simple tasks as always a gift from God, then any task or work is full of God’s Grace, and we are called to approach work or performing a taks as God’s Blessing.

  32. Michael on March 12, 2015 at 15:25

    I have measured mine and others’ self worth by appearances. The car one drives, the street address, or someones occupation. Why I insist on using such a superficial standard embarrasses me and makes me feel ashamed. Some of the people I most admire have little to no education, make meager wages, and can barely afford to drive any kind of car, but somehow I still see myself using this silly and transparent yardstick as some kind of measurement. God has given me enough insight to know this is a foolish way to look at people, but old habits are hard to break. May he continue to have patience and mercy as I trudge along

  33. Martha Paine on March 12, 2015 at 13:52

    What am I worth? Most of my life I have been trying to concentrate less on the “I” and more o n the “we”, “you” and “us” in my relating, working with family, friends and co -workers. I discover that A feeling of worth becomes present in all of t he people and there is also the presence of God among all of us.

  34. Hilda on March 12, 2015 at 13:16

    I have several mottos that I find helpful . One I have followed since I was a child in Sunday school — Honour Before Honours. In recent years I have added: A senior citizen without a goal, is old, and, just a few months ago I found the following by C.S. Lewis: It is never too late to set a new goal. or dream a new dream.

  35. Harold Pound on March 12, 2015 at 12:58

    I believe that all creation is good and filled with the Creators presence. The more I let go of my ego and allow God to lead me, the more I know that creation is part of love.

    In my work with the homeless, the more I come to the realization that these men, as well as all homeless people, are created in the image of the Creator. I try to tell the men of this fact. Some get it and some are so down on life in general that they are unable to hear the wonderful message of God’s Love. I just keep telling them of their untold worth. Eventually, most begin to get it. Of course, it is only a beginning, but the seed has been planted and I have to let go and let that seed grow.

  36. Susan Dredge on March 12, 2015 at 12:41

    I tried, whilst working, never to value my worth. I knew God loved me and I was blessed to be a child of God. I was blessed to be fit and able to work and to have jobs which I enjoyed and I did enjoy job satisfaction. At the end of each day I felt I had done my job to the best of my ability, which is all God asks of us, and went the extra step when asked to. In retirement I thank God for all those still working and working to help me. A “thank you” and a smile goes a long way to the person serving you in the shop, to the bus driver who safely brings me into town, the girls and boys who make my coffee for me, the doctors and staff at my surgery and at the hospital. The list is endless of those who help and serve us in our daily lives. We each one of us are vital but very tiny cogs in the huge wheel of life and every cog in that wheel is essential and loved by God.

  37. Clare Keller on March 12, 2015 at 12:23

    For better or worse, I tend to judge the worth of others and myself by how I/we love our neighbours as ourselves. I fear I judge harshly those whom I perceive to be extremely self-centred. This has become clear to me in our snowbound season by my responses to neighbours who were stridently critical and demanding of public workers more than they were doing (many of the DPS crew were working without sleep or being at home for days at a time). These same people see my expressed wish that they clear their sidewalks as an unrealistic expectation – and that the city should impose the ordinance to do so as unfair (“the sidewalks are city property – why should I have to clear them?”) As a walker, I keep my sidewalk clear for other walkers by keeping up with it one snowfall at a time, small or large; and I clear a place for my husband to park our car near the curb when he’s unable to do so for a brief time. It’s just part of living in community, whether of two or more.

  38. Norah Bolton on March 12, 2015 at 11:50

    The idea of real worth in terms of being loved often comes for most of us late in life – if it comes at all. Resumes and performance – as well as marks and other forms of measuring up – are foisted on us a children and young adults. When one prepared for a lifetime job or profession early in life this perhaps made some sense – but in a time when most people may have several careers let along jobs – it doesn’t. Being loved may be the only consolation for the poorest of the poor among us.

  39. Melinda on March 12, 2015 at 10:57

    I strive to remember that each one of us (and that includes me) is a creation of God and loved by God, and for that reason alone, we are worthy…..period. I would love to tell you that I remember and operate from this principle always, but I do not. As with all of us, I am a work in progress 🙂

  40. gwedhen nicholas on March 12, 2015 at 10:48

    I measure people by how beautiful they are; how they show forth Gods’ love; whether they have the inner beauty which shows itself as an outward and visible sign of inner grace. Beauty in the “worldly” sense is unimportant to me. People could have all the outer beauty that the world prizes, but be ugly because of a lack of grace in their lives; a lack of inner beauty which comes from loving God, self, and neighbour in a healthy way. I love people because of who they are, not by what they look like.

  41. Karen on March 12, 2015 at 10:05

    I have always based my self-worth on helping others. When I couldn’t do something, or someone refused my help (probably because I was annoying them), I felt terrible…like their problem was my problem. I am working on letting others own their own problems and helping when I can, and when appropriate. THis is hard.
    Others worth has (and sometimes still is) based on their “doing” meeting my expectations. Mostly this is co-workers and those that I don’t really know well. Listening to today’s reflectdion and typing this out has helped me to see this. We are all made in the image of God, and that is good; really good.

  42. Jeanne B on March 12, 2015 at 10:01

    Your perspective here on the relationship between work and worth is such a great reminder of the truths expressed in Scripture, Brother Geoffrey. An excellent analogy, in stating that — work can be a source of joy, especially when we experience it as something that gives meaning and purpose (such as when God expressed delight in what He created and exclaimed “It is Good”) — and yet our worth as human beings has nothing to do with how well we perform, our portfolio, or our resume. We are exceedingly loved by God (as He expressed through the teachings of His Son, Jesus Christ). Thank you for these thoughts.

  43. Norm Anderson on March 12, 2015 at 09:59

    I often make the mistake of judging others by how they make me feel-not how much God loves them. I love a lot of people I really don’t like much and try to measure everyone as a child of God and therefore worth as much as me or anyone else. Behavior of others often influences me in how I gauge their worth, which is clearly wrong in God’s eyes. I am inclined to spend more time with others that are more clearly visible as serious and even like-minded. another mistake, but human.

  44. Elizabeth S on March 12, 2015 at 09:20

    By what measuring stick do you gauge your worth and the worth of others? I typically measure myself with an unreasonable and unattainable measuring stick. It’s work for me to let myself off the hook and see my self-worth. Getting better, but lots of work still to do on that. Others, well, I know we’re all beloved children of God. But honestly, I don’t behave as if that’s a truth all the time. My measuring stick for others is situational but usually related to their contribution. What are they contributing to work, the world, humanity? I’m going to observe this today. See where my judgement really sits about others.

  45. Terri on March 12, 2015 at 09:03

    For me, my worth is based on how much production I get done in a day. I can sit back at the end of the day and see my progress. Leading Children’s Chapel, my worth is measured by the happiness seen in the children’s faces. I can see their little minds work and see Jesus in each happy face.

  46. Judy on March 12, 2015 at 08:59

    In this economy, with raises that don’t even equal the rise in the cost of living, and companies that promote based on personal likes and who does the best job of kissing up, gauging one’s worth by their employment is a recipe for poor self esteem. I choose instead to gauge my worth and that of others by other means. Kindness, willingness to serve, ability to be in relationship with others and love and serve them in ways that may not be material, but show forth the love of God in the world.

  47. NA on March 12, 2015 at 08:54

    I always tended not to think much about my own worth and even to believe this was a good thing, a right thing. It was really a skewed thing. Thankfully, over the years God has been teaching me that while it is good that I can very easily find worth in others regardless of their station, accomplishments, or degrees, and so on, I also need to do so for myself as well.

    The major part of my church background was spent in denominations where the worth of a female, and especially a female black sheep [baa] was something to be hammered out and stamped into oblivion. By the time I left the last and worst offending church of that kind, needless to say, I was in desperate need of rebuilding.

    We’d been at a new church for some months when a very pivotal moment came during Eucharist one Sunday. At that church, the elders on duty that week would fan out to offer communion as we walked up in our queues. Usually the standard communion words were said, but one day after her husband had given me the body, an elder who would eventually become a dear friend handed me the wine with the words, “This is the blood of Christ shed for you…because he loved you so very very much!”

    That simple statement pierced through many layers of hurt and belief and opened the door to new life. It was the beginning of learning that God loved me as me, that he saw inherent worth in me, sufficient worth to offer his life for me because he loved Me quite deeply and specifically. I’d spent all those years in church and never really ever had that spoken to my heart that way.

    In the end, we don’t get to take our accomplishments or degrees with us anyway, but our worth in God’s eyes will always remain the same.

    • Alison Vogel on March 12, 2015 at 12:37

      Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

      • Melinda on March 12, 2015 at 15:41

        Luke 12:6-7New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

        6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. 7 But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

      • NA on March 13, 2015 at 09:00

        🙂

  48. John on March 12, 2015 at 08:45

    When I rarely am conscious of the measuring stick, it is a combination of observing performance and the quality of relationships–

  49. David Cranmer on March 12, 2015 at 08:42

    What I wish I used as a measuring stick and what I actually do are two different things. I wish to judge by the same standards as the two previous responders. But I must confess that I often judge my work and the work of others by how well it meets my expectations of what “should” be done. I need to recognize the need for expectations to guide us to our goals, but I need to temper that with the recognition that most people do the best they can and that we are not perfect.

  50. Patricia Wrice on March 12, 2015 at 08:36

    I belief my worth is determined by how I can be in service to others.

  51. N on March 12, 2015 at 08:22

    My standard, rule-of-thumb is to judge myself and others by our senses of humour. I find that to be a helpful way of seeing how someone stands in relation to the world. (I should say that, for myself, I find that the best humour is that which derives from affection, not mockery or belittlement.) However, Brother Geoffrey’s contribution this morning is wonderfully helpful in recalling to myself a true perspective. Thank you.

  52. Tom on March 12, 2015 at 08:16

    I do not believe one should “measure” someone elses worth. Everyon is unique. Everyone is different. Everyone has there own strengths and weaknesses. Love them for who they are and love them for whom they are not.

  53. Bobbi on March 12, 2015 at 07:43

    My measuring stick is my connection to God. When I feel at-one-ment with God, I know I am worthy.

  54. Pat on March 12, 2015 at 07:33

    I gauge my worth by what I can do for others -my daily morning prayer includes, “Let me be who I am, give what I can, use me until You use me up.” God provides me with many opportunities in my work and in my leisure to DO – it is sometimes a challenge to ‘take the ball and run with it’ but as someone who has the time now (retirement) it is indeed my goal to DO whenever I can. Sometimes it is as simple as a smile for someone I pass, holding a door for someone as I enter or exit a building, sending a card to someone who is ill or just in a slump…there are opportunities everywhere, if we look.

  55. Kathy B on March 12, 2015 at 07:33

    I know in my head that I am always loved, so I have a certain security that insulates me from my own measurement of worth, but I still judge myself. I find that I measure my worth by whom I am able to love. And I gauge others worth by whether they accept me and allow me to care about them.

  56. Linda H. on March 12, 2015 at 07:22

    Measuring sticks: did I complete the task? Did I do it well? Was I responsive? Was I helpful? Did I do the task without walkeding over others? Did I contribute. And did I stay healthy in the process?

    • Ace on March 12, 2015 at 19:18

      I think a large part of my self worth has/is based on what culture or society perhaps parents, has held in high regard eg efficiency, integrity, hard work, standard of ability & autonomy-so still type of job, earning capacity, how much responsibility you can take on – performance. I don’t see myself as a gifted person in these ways but perhaps more in other ways that society may have less regard for & pay less for, so I can experience serious dips in low mood. I’ll never attain those ‘higher’ things as they’re not really me. I’ve been learning a lot more how God loves us & how we can love ourselves as we can others. This has been so inspiring. However, I’m in a bit if a dip now. I have become so fearful of other people’s opinions due to changes around me, doors opening & closing & I’m so frightened I’ll be left on the heap with a low paid job & those who make decisions will not want me. I can’t handle the anticipation that I just feel it’s easier to fail & have done with it – at least I have the answer & I can say to myself – see told you you’ll never be anything special. I can see how knowing more & more intimately that God loves me regardless & despite performance, as well as loving and accepting myself & others can heal my soul & actually it doesn’t matter how much I’m paid or what my job is or what my performance is comparatively like.

  57. Jeanne on March 12, 2015 at 07:20

    I have two measuring sticks. For myself, it is both work product and the happiness of my family and friends. It is very hard to be happy with my own work product. Measuring the value of the work of others is much easier. If they are people I care about, what makes them happy makes me happy. If they are strangers I’m very tough and can be unforgiving. Obviously all this needs work.

  58. Jana Everett on March 12, 2015 at 07:19

    At the deepest level, I see my worth in terms of how I can help others–be useful to others, nurture them, teach them, be there for them.
    At a more superficial level, my worth is connected to my work, my role as a professor. My work can be a joy and when I’m not doing well, it is a struggle.
    As far as others are concerned, I guess worth is most connected with kindness and willingness to share, to be vulnerable. I also value smart people, they do not have to have credentials.

  59. Christopher Epting on March 12, 2015 at 07:05

    It has been a lifelong struggle not to measure myself by what I “do” rather than what I “am.” Near burnout came because, in ministry, no matter how much you “do,” there is always more! Healing came when I discovered the grace and real meaning of Sabbath time.

  60. Barbara on March 12, 2015 at 06:43

    Not by earthly standards but only and always through God’s mercy and grace I am accredited “worthy” … God knows that I haven’t lived to the highest that I know; God forgives, redeems, endows me with worth.

  61. Sarah Acland on March 12, 2015 at 06:29

    This question does cut rather deep. It is easier to remember that others are God’s children and loved no matter what, than to extend this to myself. The difficulties that I have in helping others to see their own worth are nothing to the trouble I have with myself.

  62. Kara on March 12, 2015 at 06:23

    Each day I pray to be God’s instrument of love and healing…but alas I am human and fall short. Then my prayer becomes…let me know I am loved and forgiven…and I am…

  63. John David Spangler on March 12, 2015 at 06:18

    As always, I thank you and all the Brothers for the thoughtful and helpful meditations. To-day’s thoughts on the worth of work reminded me of Eric Gill who observed: “Things must be right in themselves and good for uset.”.

  64. Muriel on March 12, 2015 at 05:58

    I have gauged my worth and the worth of others by their professions and the jobs that they do. But I tred to measure people by not what they did but how they did their work: ethics, honesty, using their time well etc.
    Now I try to see the worth in everybody- in their caring for others, responsibility, kindness etc. But work is so ingrained in our culture that it is hard to measure people’s worth if they are ‘jobless’.

  65. Roderic Brawn on March 12, 2015 at 05:39

    As a musician and music teacher, although I don’t know much teaching anymore, I have an interesting perspective on this. Of course, musicians are judged by their performance, and when in an ensemble, how reliable their performance is, by people. Here is the irony of all of this. When musicians remember they are loved by the rest of the ensemble, and the conductor, no matter how well they perform then their creativity is released. I play the trumpet, and if someone holds back when playing lead trumpet, well there is nothing there. As an analogy in the orchestra of life we know God loves us so we are free to make our contribution. Wonderful things are created then. I think when one looks at the French verb, the infinitive of which is faire, to do or to make the same word concept together we understand better than in English where we have to words to make and to do.
    If I am teaching a student to play or sing first I need from them a committed sound, then it can be shaped.

    • Susan on March 12, 2015 at 06:52

      This is a wonderful analogy. I can see how my confidence to commit and share my gifts is enhanced when I know that the other members of my “team” (e.g. other teachers) love and value me. It gives me freedom to be creative and take risks – especially when I’m willing to share ideas and then allow others to help shape them. In contrast, when those around me (especially those in a supervisory position, like your conductor) don’t value my opinion, my fear and lack of confidence prevent me from trying something new.

  66. bob on March 12, 2015 at 03:49

    By love and care.

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