We don’t like to admit it, but so much of our world operates around the estimated value of our utility. Most often we actively try to deny it. Of course, it doesn’t work that way. How preposterous to suggest that we value people by their use! That’s not very kind! But then why do we grow frustrated when Or why do we get fearful when we aren’t able to offer as much to someone as they are offering to us? Utility is a toxic and well-hidden currency amongst human interaction.
I struggle with this all the time. Because of my brain injury, I’m forced to constantly rely on others in ways I can’t payback. I have to ask people to help me knowing full well that I’m not able to help them on that same level. It is a complete imbalance of capability. If the world’s estimation of value was correct, my worth would be at an all-time low. I’d be so far in debt that I could never pay it off. Truthfully, it’s most often hard not to feel exactly that.
Thank goodness God doesn’t see it that way.
The world may value people by utility, but God values you by your worth. And He believes you have loads of it.
Ask a Christian who has recently become a parent for the first time. They will tell you how much becoming a parent has shown them about God’s character. They know that the tiny little human now in their care has absolutely no utility to them. If anything just the opposite is true. A baby cannot help around the house or contribute to paying your bills. They cannot run errands or help you in a crisis. Babies have no utility in or world currency. If utility is the currency, they are the world’s most reckless spenders. And yet, when parents hold their little baby, they are completely consumed by love to the point they would do anything to keep them safe and happy.
They don’t often think of what that baby can do for them to repay all their hard work. Parents don’t see to their crying infant only after the baby has made some promise on what they can do for them. They don’t expect the baby to lend a hand with anything. They know that this little baby is completely reliant on them for every little thing with no way of offering any help back, and they love them for it.
That’s what’s beautiful (and equally terrifying) about the gospel. It operates in the exact same fashion. Our utility isn’t even a remote factor in our salvation. There’s not a single thing we can do to earn it. Not a single thing. Our participation is not based on earning but on acceptance. We don’t arrive at the foot of God’s throne with a calculator in hand, tallying up our efforts to see if it covers the price of admission. Our only chance is to point to Jesus and say “He said I could come.” Our only chance is to rely on the worth seen in us, not the utility.
Utility does not get us into the Kingdom of God. Worth does, and Jesus’ actions would indicate that we have loads of it.
We may see ourselves as savvy, smart, capable people who should be able to get things done, not just for ourselves but for others as well. But what God sees is the helpless little child who can’t lift a finger to complete the task that needs to be done to keep them safe. What he sees is someone who desperately needs him and who he loves to the point of sending his son to save them. It’s his love that saves, not our personal use.
When God looks at me and the shortcomings of my brain, he doesn’t think “I guess I can work with this.” He looks at me and assures me that this is part of the story. It doesn’t slow him down. He wasn’t ever depending on my usefulness. That was never a factor. I could be in a lot worse shape in my life, incapable of so much more than I already am, and God would still see worth in me because he loves me. God’s currency is love, and he has more than enough to go around.
There is no poverty in love.
If we shift ourselves from a utility mindset to a worth mindset we’ll find just how loved we are and just how little God actually requires of us. It’s not a throwaway word choice that the Bible constantly refers to us as His children. We are. Loved in spite of our dependence, loved because we are his to love.
If you have lived your life defined by your use to others you know how much it hurts when you fall short, but that doesn’t carry over to God’s kingdom. You are loved. Full stop. You were loved before your feet hit the ground this morning and you are loved when you put the day down. It doesn’t change in the hours between. You are loved and you have worth. Who needs utility?
Let’s find some joy,