Envision the Capital One commercial with the Vikings stating, “What’s in your wallet?”–
WHAT’s YOUR WORTH?
Niki Lauda, the former Formula One race car driver from the Ron Howard movie RUSH (a great rivalry movie!) = $100 million
John Wayne = $50 million (Even after he’s dead!)
David Baldacci, the author = $45 million
Gisele Bundchen (the Brazilian model) = $250 million (I picked the wrong career!) *tongue in cheek*
J.K. Rowling, another author = $1 Billion (Okay—Maybe there’s hope!) 😉
Angelina Jolie= $27 million (Even without Brad Pitt!)
Howard Stern and Magic Johnson are tied with $500 million each
(Data gathered from http://www.celebritynetworth.com & Forbes)
A few curious findings:
Pam Anderson and Nicholas Cage= $0 (Apparently some tax issues tangled them up.)
Also mind-blowing to me, the following people all filed for bankruptcy (some more than once) and bounced back from it:
Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Walt Disney, Willie Nelson, Burt Reynolds and Henry Ford.
So, the question: What are you worth?
I was 17 and grappling with what college to attend and what to study to obtain this so-called “success.”
So I began questioning people.
“What does it mean to be successful?”
Most people answered by citing a famous person they aspired to be like (such as those above) and all answers described the visuals of success: a four car garage with each bay filled with an Italian performance car, the climbing of the corporate ladder, the growing amount of their investments, the lavish amounts of time off and money to travel, etc.
One person answered different. It stuck with me. I will summarize what this very wise individual said, “Success is different for each person. Mostly, I think it is to dream and achieve those dreams, while living a life that honors God with those dreams.”
This didn’t help me in deciding on my college (Go BUFFS!) or what major to declare (not surprisingly I chose sociology!), but it did help me years later, when I was in jeopardy of losing the career and title I’d worked to obtain.
My identity and value was tightly wrapped around my work and how well I did it. “Ten minutes early is ten minutes late” was one of my mottos. I dressed for a position higher than I was in and always took extra training classes and afterwards submitted reports of what I learned to my superiors. Intense study and exams, several interviews, a detailed background investigation, drug testing, and a polygraph took months before I was hired by the police department. Then the full year of “hands-on” training were required (all on night shift) before I was certified by the State of Arizona. I loved the meticulousness of my position. I felt I made a difference in my work when I became the lead trainer a year later and, when asked, I held my head high as I announced I was a fingerprint identification technician at Scottsdale’s crime lab.
And when my situation changed and this was all in jeopardy of evaporating away, the proverbial rug was ripped out from under me. My talents, skills, daily duties, position, pay check and performance all came crashing down around me. Couple this with some health issues and a loved one diagnosed with terminal cancer and I was spiraling out of control. To say I was on my knees was an understatement.
But sometimes, on our knees is just where we are supposed to be.
I didn’t know where to turn, what to do or how to do it, but I knew I still had dreams. I let go of my need to control, released my need to know and, as those wise words about success echoed forward into my consciousness, I laid my life at the feet of the One who planted those dreams in me and the One who is always in control.
With the recession stripping many of their positions, their homes and their identities, this question of WORTH is on a lot of people’s minds.
What is one life worth?
Is it just about the $$$’s above, or about a title attached or possessions obtained? Or what the person can offer? What if that person is sick or very old? Or, very, very young?
Strip people of their millions, their talents, their titles, power, possessions and what’s left?
Is what’s left a life worth dying for?
Take it ALL away and you find out what you are made of–
“…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
–You are dust.
The loss of these “things” is no small matter. They are big, and deep and wounding things to lose. But we have a God who is bigger, deeper, wider and so much more mind-blowing-ly powerful.
“You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us”
-Lyrics from Gungor’s “Beautiful Things”
He makes good things from dust.
“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” (Psalm 33:6)
God breathes in, taking in the common element of oxygen, and exhales, emitting the stars and galaxies into existence!
And the same God breathes into us.
The same God, regardless of our dusty title, dwindling possessions, meager abilities, lack of talent, unrealized dreams, stripped power or embarrassing net worth, believed we were worth dying for; worthy of sending His Son to die on a cross.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
So the next time you compare yourself to “the Jones’s,” stress out about your pay check, feel hopeless toward job prospects and the slippery success you sought after; remember you are valuable.
In spite of your efforts, regardless of your talents or where you find yourself, your life is worth the death of a King.