I have a number of keepsakes in my office that represent different stages of my life and they all carry memories from my past.
In the photo above, you will see two of these items. One is a 1970s typewriter that I’ve carried around with me through a number of house and office moves. With it you will see a more than 80-year old sporting trophy.
I am sure none of you would want to part with money for them, not even at a “trash and treasure” sale and I wouldn’t expect bidders on Gumtree. They aren’t going to feature on Antiques Roadshow. The fact is they are not for sale. They may be worth little to most people, but they are incredibly valuable to me.
Their value is found in their ownership. They belonged to my much loved grandparents. They are a treasured possession of mine, just like a number of other special family collectables in my work office and home study.
It is 20 years this month since my grandmother died and I carry with me such strong memories of my time with her. She has left an indelible mark on my life and as small as it is; her vigoro trophy on my bookshelf is a small but special token of her legacy. As a child I would often hold the modest trophy as she would describe this strange game of vigoro, a sport that combined elements of cricket, tennis and baseball.
Sitting in my grandparent’s humble kitchen I would also watch my grandfather type meeting agendas and minutes from his beloved South Newcastle Lions rugby league club that he served in voluntary capacities for more than 70 years. There he was back in the 1970s with the Imperial 200, touch typing, not missing a beat. How the world has changed. He would have been lost on the MacBook I type this post on now. And I smile each time I watch my five year old Ada come into my office and sit and play with “Tom’s typing machine” as she calls it.
As I look again at these two small pieces from the past, I am reminded of how loved I was by these two special people in my life. I am reminded by how much I loved them. Most of all, I am struck afresh by the worth they fuelled in my life. They believed in me; they cheered me on; they stood by me from childhood into adulthood; they built self-esteem in me.
We live at a time where so many people yearn for worth and acceptance in life. We live in a world where we are bombarded daily with messages from the media and the marketers that impact how we see ourselves; often with an emphasis on the externals of success, image and materialism. We live at a time where all too many people will make decisions on their worth based on social media followers and influences.
In such a culture it is good for all of us to pause and ask ourselves where we derive our sense of worth and value. What are the primary drivers that shape our identity and how we see ourselves? These are fundamental questions and they shape attitude and action in our lives.
The older I get, the simpler and clearer the grid becomes for me.
I have learnt the dangers of looking to career, performance, success and others to shape my worth and value. Yes, these can all provide a temporary fix, but they are not lasting, particularly in seasons of turmoil, failure and loss.
At Crossway we have just completed a weekend series looking at 1 Peter; a letter written to a people being squeezed by Rome, a people under pressure, a people being persecuted and tested, a people with every reason to question their worth and purpose.
The bottom line message of 1 Peter is a reminder to the first century believers that they are known and loved by their Father God.
Peter uses this simple, but profound descriptor: “You are God’s special possession.” (1 Peter 2:9)
That’s it – their value is in their ownership. They belong to their Creator God. They matter to God. They are his special possession – not because of who they are or what they have done; but all because of God’s grace, love and goodness.
Suddenly this grid changes everything for them. They can be secure in their identity, which opens the door to purposeful living. They are not bereft. Even in the midst of big challenges they know they are not alone. They have the resources of heaven at their disposal. They have hope. They have worth. They have value!
Today are you chasing worth in your work – seeking to climb the corporate ladder, accumulate more, tick the achievement boxes, but still yearning for “more” in life? Are you running in circles always seeking to please others; seeking to be accepted and valued, but feeling like you never make the mark? Are you more concerned with your social media status and image than your authentic personal story and journey? Do you feel alone and unloved? Have you lost sight of your real identity and purpose?
Today I invite you to join me in speaking Peter’s truth over your life again. Speak it into your mind and heart. Let it sink in – deep down. “You are God’s special possession.”
When we live with the reality that we matter to the One that matters most, we open the door to life-transforming worth, meaning, purpose and hope in our lives. And we are invited to bring this beautiful message of love, care and acceptance into the lives of others around us. That’s the treasure of knowing we are treasured!
— Scott Pilgrim