Last month, Forbes named Bill Gates as the richest person in the world. Again. His net worth is $75 billion.
The youngest person on Forbes’ top 10 list of billionaires is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. His net worth is $44.6 billion.
The Forbes site also has a real-time list, though I’m not sure why anyone other than those on the list, say perhaps #11 or #12 billionaire, would be interested in following this. It is depressing enough as it is. Most of us don’t need to do the math to know that we won’t make it to the list. Not for a loooong time.
So why are we still fascinated with reading about these people and every new billionaire that emerges? Like why are we fascinated with the lives of celebrities, whether actors, footballers, or socialites?
Well, primarily because they are rich. And famous. They’re famous because whatever they’re doing is earning them big bucks. And all of us dream wistfully about the day when we too may be worth big bucks.
What many of us don’t realise is: We already are.
How do you determine what something is worth?
Say you go to the mall and you see a really nice jacket, which costs $150. You really like it and it looks great on you, so you buy it. In your opinion, that jacket is worth more than the $150 in your bank account, because you gave it up for the jacket. Or perhaps you’re at the supermarket with just $10, and you have to decide between a bag of chips or a bar of chocolate as the last thing you’ll get after all the other necessary items. If you choose the chips, it would mean that was worth more to you than the chocolate.
Some things can also appreciate in value over time. For example, you may have adopted a dog from the shelter and paid $200 at the time. 5 years down the road, someone may offer you $2,000 for the dog, and you say no. 10 years later, even if someone offered you $20,000 for the same dog, you will still say no. Because by now, you love the dog too much. Love increases the value of something exponentially, to the point that it becomes even priceless.
How much do you think Jesus was worth? The Bible tells us that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, that every wild beast of the field belongs to Him. The Lord Himself says, “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine”. He is not just the Creator of the earth (and everything that’s in it), but also of the entire universe! He doesn’t just own all the diamonds and precious stones, and the stars and galaxies, He made them.
What do you think Jesus was worth to God? The Bible tells us that Jesus was at God’s side all along, before the foundations of the earth were laid. And Jesus was daily God’s delight. In the Gospels, God the Father proclaims publicly a number of times of Jesus, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And Jesus wasn’t adopted, He was the only begotten Son of God, full of glory, beauty, grace and truth. He was the only precious One of the Father, the Darling of heaven, whom the angels adored and all creation sang praises to.
And God gave Jesus up for you. Can you therefore imagine what you are worth?
Perhaps you might say, “Oh well, but God knew Jesus would win, and that He would raise Him back from the dead, right?“
Let me ask you this: If someone promised you a large sum of money, would you send your only son for a number of years to a foreign land to suffer torture and mockery to free some strangers from captivity in that land, even if it was guaranteed that your son would return to you safely alive at the end of it? Of course not! Why would you ever let your son suffer for a bunch of people unrelated to you, whether it came with a reward and guarantee or not?
And this pales in comparison to what God did with Jesus. Jesus not only suffered torture and mockery at the hands of men, He bore the full burden of our sins, sicknesses, heartaches and pains, and the full punishment, wrath and fiery judgement of God at the cross on our behalf.
The only reward offered to God was our redemption, freedom, and our blessings in Christ. Everything was done for our benefit. And that was enough for God to send His Son to the cross.
Your net worth is Jesus. In fact, it has to be more than Jesus – if, in fact, anything could be worth more – since God gave Him up for you.
When I heard that spoken by Ps Louie Giglio in his message Rejection Must Fall, I was just struck by a renewed sense of wonder and of God’s immeasurable love for me. When we realise and wrap our minds in the truth of what we are really worth to God, all our fears and worries start to melt away, like butter on a hot stove.
We stop being fixated with how much others have – be it riches, things, happiness, or likes – in relation to how much we have. We stop looking for other people’s approval and affirmation to keep us going. When we know how much we are truly valued by God, the greatest being of all, we stop looking around us and at ourselves, and we start looking back in awe at the One who loved us. We know that if He loves us so, He will definitely keep us and look after us.
That sounds very nice, but I have actual financial needs to meet. And isn’t net worth technically calculated by assets minus liabilities? I have some pretty major debts and mortgages right now.
Indeed, it is. But when we consider that all the nations are but a drop in the bucket in God’s perspective, our debts and financial challenges are nothing to Him, and nothing compared to our worth in Jesus.
If you want to be really practical, no one was ever found wanting when they had the Lord with them. Abraham was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. So was his son Isaac, and his grandson Jacob. King Solomon, who asked the Lord for wisdom, got not only wisdom, but riches and honour like no other person who ever lived. In fact, a calculation of his wealth taking inflation into consideration puts King Solomon’s net worth as something like $2.1 trillion in 2013! He was so rich that everything he had was made of gold because silver was considered common as rocks in his kingdom.
When we pursue the Lord Jesus, wealth and abundance naturally come after us. He will never leave us wanting or lacking, but always supplied with more than enough. Jesus didn’t need to carry wads of cash with Him when He walked on earth, and we don’t need to either (because honestly it’s not like we’re going to buy a new Lamborghini every day), His Father in heaven provided Him with whatever He needed whenever He needed it, as it is also for us.
But can God give us an idea and prosper us with great wealth and success? Of course He can, and He does. He’s that kind of God.
Because when you encounter Jesus, you encounter grace.