JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF YOUR WORTH
May 19, 2002
I am standing on the roof of Fellowship Church. I’m right over you in the worship center. If I jump up and down, you can’t hear me because our roof is too thick. Anyway, behind me is a logo that says “FellowshipChurch.com.” We painted the logo on top of the church because so many people are traveling in the air. Thousands and thousands of people fly over Fellowship Church each and every day. They’re all going to certain destinations. Well, in this series we’re going to take you to the ultimate destination. We’re going on a journey, a journey to the center of our worth. Come along because we are going to have a great time.
Welcome to the Bahamas. Several nights ago a generous friend of Fellowship Church was kind enough to fly several of us down here to do some filming and we’ve been having a great time right here in these gorgeous islands. I’m standing in Port Laguna Marina on one of their docks in Shreveport Island on Grand Bahama. This is definitely one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, and some of the most expensive yachts around come here because this is an ultimate destination.
Over the next several minutes we’re going to be talking about ultimate destinations. Because the bottom line is this: human beings are looking for an ultimate destination. We’re trying to find the meaning of life. We’re asking questions like, “Do I matter to anybody? Do I have any value? Do I have any significance?” Now, why do we ask that stuff? Why do we go through that drill day in and day out?
Well, to really know the answer you have to go back to the first man and the first woman. Because Adam and Eve, they were made in the image of God. They saw themselves the way God viewed them, nothing more and nothing less. It happens to be what a healthy self esteem is all about. If you want to have a healthy self esteem, if you want to go to the ultimate destination, you need to see yourself the way God sees you, nothing more and nothing less.
In the book of Genesis though Adam and Eve had it going on, but the problem was the evil one began to whisper lies to them and check out what happens. Genesis 3:5, “For God knows that when you eat of it,” this is Satan talking, “your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Well, here’s what happened. Adam and Eve looked away from God to another source for their significance. From that moment on man has been struggling with feelings of inadequacy and insecurity ever since. So come along with me. I’m going to put my sunglasses on because it’s getting hot. It’s only like 9:35 in the morning and it is burning up. I’m going to take my sandals off because we are going on a journey, a journey to the center of our worth.
This journey that I have been talking about starts at a marina. All of us walk up to a marina, the boat docks of life, looking for significance. Because on the boat docks of life there are always two crafts. The first craft is the SS Significance, kind of like the boat in the background. It’s a beautiful boat. The captain of this craft is a young guy who promises us that we will find our significance, our meaning, when we jump aboard this boat. Yet he tells us right up front that it is going to cost us something. He tells us we are going to hit some rough weather, force five winds. We might get a little seasick, a little sunburned. Most people, you would think, would jump aboard the SS Significance, this beautiful boat. Yet the majority of us shake our heads and say, “No, no, no. I’ll go on the other craft.”
The other craft leaving this marina is here 24-7. It is a deceptive boat. It looks good. It looks easy. But the captain is a liar. The captain says, “Come onboard my boat. You don’t have to go on the SS significance because on my boat there are no waves, there is no wind, you don’t have to worry about sunblock or getting seasick. I’ll take you where you want to go.” And large blocks of us jump on this deceptive craft and we take a little easy trip out to the Self Esteem Islands. This captain is a liar. He says, “Hey, come out to my islands, play with me. That will give you significance.” Sadly, though, these islands will mess us up, and I will show you what I’m talking about.
The world tells us it is a certain look, a certain attitude, a certain walk, a certain piece of jewelry, a certain coat, certain shoes, a certain psyche, a certain body… If we have all of those things, then we’ll feel significant. Then we will know what life is all about. That’s not true. I mean that is a joke. Because we know many people, I know you do, I do, who have all that stuff yet they’re miserable. They’re totally unhappy. We spend too much time on Style Island. I mean the Bible says do the best with what you have but don’t freak out about it.
Here’s what the word of God says in Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting.” How many people here think that beauty is fleeting? I do. How many here are testimony to the fact that beauty is fleeting? I am. I mean, I look at myself and I have these lines here, some wrinkles. I’m getting these sunspots on me and my hair is turning gray. My hairline is not where it used to be, and you can tell that in this wind. I’m falling apart. It is part of the age process. Now, we have to do the best we can but some of us just lose it here. We live our lives on Style Island and wonder why we don’t have a true view of ourselves. We wonder why we don’t have true significance in this life. I’ll tell you why. We’re looking to the outside as opposed to the inside. Once we ask Christ into our lives meaning comes from the inside out not the outside in.
1 Samuel 16:7, I love this verse: “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” How much time do you spend on inner beauty, on inner looks as opposed to outward beauty and outward looks? It’s a great question. Take inventory. Think about your traveling schedule. Are you living right now on Style Island? Are you, like, saying, “Well, it’s just the next purchase or the next look.” I’m telling you this island will not work.
Here’s what most of us do. Most of us say, “OK, style will not work. Life’s more important than looks. So, I know what I’ll do. I’ll jump in the dingy and I’ll go to the other island because I see it over there. I’ll go to the other island, and the other island, because this deceptive captain told me, it will give me meaning and significance and power.” Well the other island is Status Island. That’s another island in this chain of Self Esteem Islands. Status Island. I like that word status. S-T-A-T-U-S. Status is keeping stats on us. Keeping stats. How much I have. How much you have. What I look like compared to what you look like. Where I live compared to where you live. What I drive compared to what you drive. That’s the formula once again for frustration. It will not give you significance. It will not give you meaning. It’s something that will not give you anything lasting.
The Bible says in Proverbs 11:7, in the Good News, “Confidence based in riches comes to nothing.” I mean consider this, the whole materialism thing, the riches thing is a moving target. Once you get up to the Jones, once you get up to them and pass them, you meet the Smiths. You meet the Smiths and you go, “Wow, I have to pass the Smiths.” Well then there’s another family, and another family. I’ve seen that in the Bahamas. We flew in and there are all sorts of planes, private planes. People have you fly in one plane and there’s a better plane or a better plane than that. Look at all the yachts you just saw in the marina. There’s this size boat, a bigger boat, a better boat. The same is true in life. If you are looking for the meaning in life through getting to a certain level, or attaining this or that, or piling up this amount of stuff it’s not going to get you where you want to go. And again this island gets pretty boring.
I’ve talked to literally hundreds of people who have a bunch of stuff in life. They have all the status you can think of, yet they tell me, “You know what, Ed? I’m not happy. I don’t have joy.” I met a guy down here that I’ve talked to several times, and the guy has pretty much everything the world has to offer, yet he’s lonely. I mean if all the stuff and all the status was the answer, the wealthiest people would be the happiest. And they’re not. There is more to life.
Well, a lot of people get tired of Status Island so they say, “Ok, surely this next island will do it.” They jump aboard the dingy and go to the next island, Success Island. That’s the final island in the self-esteem chain. They think, “Man, success will do it.” Jeremiah 9:23-24, the Bible says, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me.” The three American values that we really go after are wisdom, strength and riches. Did you see it there in Verses 23 and 24? We love to compete, compare and contrast in all of those areas. Wisdom: Who’s the smartest? Strength: Who has the most power? Riches: Who’s stacking the most stuff?
A lot of us play mind games. Some of us, because we have a poor self esteem, some of us because we see ourselves from the outside in as opposed to the inside out, play the comparison game. Do you know what the Bible says about comparison? It says it’s unfair to compare. When God made you and God made me, we’re original. We’re one of a kind. If you hadn’t been made there would be a hole in history. A gap in God’s created order. Yet we compare and contrast ourselves. You can’t do that. That’s going to mess you up. You will always find someone you’re better than or you’ll always find someone that you’re not anywhere as near as sharp as.
Some of us even play this game called the “Cut -Down” game. We cut ourselves down in order to have others build us up. If you compare or you are always cutting yourself down in order to have other people build you up, you have poor self-esteem. I sometimes do the cut-down game myself. I’ll say something like, “I’m not that good in whatever.” And I’ll say that and other people will say, “Oh Ed, yes you are. You’re great.” I’ll say, Well, I’m not that great of a golfer.” “Oh yeah you are.” Or, “I’m really not that good at running.” “Yes you are, you’re great.” A poor self esteem. I mean, lights should flash, this person struggles with a poor self-esteem.
So what happens with these islands? We go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and after a while the dingy runs out of gas. After a while we’re in trouble. After a while we’re in trouble. We will take on water and the sharks will begin to circle. It’s a bad, bad situation to be in. Some of you right now, you are sinking. You don’t have significance. You don’t have value. You don’t realize how much you matter because you spend too much time in the Self Esteem Islands. You have spent two or three decades in the Self Esteem Islands. Sharks are circling; they’re going to eat you up.
But here’s the good news. Here’s the good news. You know that boat I talked about earlier, the SS Significance? Can’t you hear it in the background right now? Ooooooo, Ahhhhhhhh. Because when the sharks start to circle, when the dingy is going down right off the chain of Self Esteem islands, the SS Significance will rescue you. Remember that captain I was talking about? That captain is Jesus. That young, risk-taking, adventuresome captain, he will pull you and me out of the waters, he will rescue us, and he will tell us a couple of things. He will tell us that we are a masterpiece.
Look at this ocean. You will not find a more beautiful beach anywhere, God’s creation, God’s handiwork. Look at this sand. Look at the beautiful trees. Look at the turquoise water, it’s awesome. You’re a masterpiece. “Yeah Ed, but you don’t know what my father told me.” or “You don’t know what that coach told me.” or “You don’t know what people say about my look or my laugh.” Hey, you are a masterpiece based on the Bible.
The Bible says in Isaiah 49:5 (TEV), “The Lord gives me honor, he is my source of strength.” Psalms 8:5 (NLT), “For you made us only a little lower than God and you crowned us with glory and honor.” Psalms 139:13, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” I mean, think about that. Before you were a twinkle in your father’s eye, you mattered to God. He had a plan for you. A design for you. You think Picasso and Renoir are great painters? They pale in comparison to the artistic beauty that God has given you and he has given me. We are creative. We are innovative. We are one of a kind. Yet most of us don’t know it. And I’ll tell you why we don’t know it. The evil one does not want us to know it. Captain Deception, who drives this boat, messes too many people up.
Here’s what I’ve tried to do with my life. And I struggle with self-esteem like everybody else. But once I begin to see myself the way God sees me, nothing more and nothing less, my life begins to change as far as my view, as far as my location, as far as who I am and where I am on God’s map. I try every time I talk to people, every time I talk to my wife and my children and friends, and believe me I fail at this, but I try–I try to build up people’s self esteem. I try to show them who they are in Christ. I try to give them confidence. I try to give them support. I can’t do it, but I allow God, through me, to give it to them, to show them who they are before the Lord.
Another thing I do is I try to share Christ with people that I see. If God gives me a window of opportunity, I try to just throw in something about Christ. Because you can read all the self-help books you want to, written by all the psychologist and the psychotherapists and the glassy eyed gurus. You can try to think positively and all this stuff. But let me tell you something, that does not matter a thing. It all begins with Jesus Christ and seeing God’s view of you. So, we are a masterpiece.
Not only are we a masterpiece; we are also bought with a price. That’s an awesome thing to think about. We’re bought with a price.
I’m here with my good friend, Kathy. Kathy, how are you doing?
Kathy: I’m OK.
Ed: Good, now she works here at the Port Laguna market place, the straw market. She’s going to tell me about all this cool stuff she has here, beautiful bracelets and stuff, necklaces. You know an object is worth what someone will pay for it. If you ever wonder how much you’re worth, I’m going to tell you something, you’re worth a ton. Because God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to shed his blood on the cross for you and for me, for your sins and mine. Once we know that, and realize that, and accept that, then we’re on our way to discovering who we are. So the first two things we need to understand on this journey to the center of our worth is the fact that we are one of a kind. We are a Picasso. We are a masterpiece. And also, we were bought for a price. I’ll see you next week as we take another journey to another destination.
Let’s bow for a word of prayer. Dear Father, we thank you for the opportunity we have to once again hear your word. I pray that every person here would download this significant stuff that we talked about from your word. I pray that all of us would see who we are in you. Prepare us as we delve deeper in this topic. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.