I bought this little carousel a few years ago for a friend of mine. It came relatively plain and faded, but when you wind it, the horses go around and it plays music and I figured she would love it, so I bought it cheap and started to hand paint it. It took me hours over a couple of days to get it perfect, and when it was ready, I put it on my drawers ready to grab to give to her soon afterwards. Then, one day, as I was opening my door, I must have bumped it and it fell. A tiny little chip fell out, and my parents tried to convince me she wouldn’t notice or even care because I’d spent so much time and effort on it, but I wouldn’t listen to any of it. I’d spent so much hard work on this, and now, it was broken.
One of the greatest lies ever told is that someone is worthless. Many people are told this lie by others, while some tell it to themselves. Sometimes it’s something in life that tells you- your marks, the fact you can’t get a date, anxiety. I was practicing music the other day, and I did it until my fingers ached and I was exhausted, just so I could play music for Sunday school the next day. I rocked up just to find out someone else was doing it, and a little voice in my head said, “well I probably wasn’t good enough.” Worthless comes in many forms- “fat”, “stupid”, “ugly”, “weird”. Worthless is just, you are not enough. Not worth the effort, time, energy or love. Worthless.
Time and time again I see girls whose problems are rooted in this feeling that they aren’t worth it, and when I look at my own problems, often they too revolve around the niggling feeling that I need to do more to be worth it.
And so we try to encourage people to feel more worthwhile. Sometimes it’s in vapid ways, like “try wearing something a little tighter, a little more make up, and then he’ll see who you really are, once he gets to know you.” Sometimes it’s in trying to convince yourself, “baby I’m worth it”(a Fifth Harmony -all girl band- song). Sometimes we rely on one area- if I just have enough friends, if I just put enough effort into this guy, if I study for hours instead of going to church- but eventually, they let us down. The hard truth is that even when things reflect how much we are worth something, like that diamond ring, or the dog that almost falls over with glee every time you walk through the door, nothing ever fills the gap of worthlessness.
The worst thing about this lie, though, is that it is perpetuated sometimes in church. Fire and brimstone preachers who convince people that they are tiny little humans who aren’t worth anything. Puny ants who live on this crazy distant planet in the middle of nowhere. Gee, thanks guys.
Technically, the carousel was worthless. It cost me $5 and would have sold for maybe $1 with the chip in it. The mechanics didn’t work after I dropped it, so maybe not even the dollar. But to me, it was priceless. I made it, and I took care of it- to me, it was priceless.
God didn’t die for a people he made accidentally or didn’t care about. God didn’t create each of his people unique and beautiful for no reason, and he certainly didn’t do it so we could believe we’re worthless. Every time someone hurts themselves, or hurts someone else, I imagine him cradling his creation in his hands, weeping. But they’re worthless, surely, to the God of everything! No one will notice, if just a little bit isn’t where it’s meant to be- they need to lose weight, they need to get surgery to look prettier, they only deserve that boyfriend! And God looks over his shoulder, as I did with my carousel, tears in his eyes, and says “but I made that.”
A God that pursues his people, and will not rest until each one has had the chance to hear the good news. A God that knows the numbers of hair on each head, and knits each child together in its mothers womb, regardless of whether the world thinks they are good enough, God says they are very good. God says they are worth dying for. God says they are priceless.
God says you are priceless.