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I stink at math. Maybe it’s hereditary.

Yesterday, my child brought home a math paper marked with a great big F. However, he had gotten every answer correct.

What made it wrong? He hadn’t read the instructions. The instructions didn’t ask him to solve the math problem. They asked him to show how he would solve it. Although the math itself was correct, the equations he used made the entire problem wrong. None of his “right” answers mattered because he was using the wrong instructions.

I feel you, kid. I really do.

For my most of my life, I believed this basic equation for life:

Work + Tenacity = My Worth

Some women live by another equation:

Beauty + Style = My Worth

Others believe:

Success + Money = My Worth

These all seem like good stuff. So why are they wrong? Just like my son, Jeremy, learned, a wrong premise gets a wrong answer every single time.

Our worth is not bound up in anything we control. Isn’t that a good thing? When we hear the mantras of “You are loved” or “You were made for more” or “You have a purpose,” it sounds good but also a little vague.

How do I know I am loved? Does my work make others love me? My beauty? My home? These all sound pretty empty, and that’s because without a foundation, they are only words.

If the sum of who we are relies on anything we can control, it means the opposite is also true. It means if we fail in the area that validates us, then our worth is in jeopardy.

Then how should we assess worth? How do we know we are loved, or we are made for more, or we have purpose?

A few factors determine worth, but rarity and origin impact the value of most everything. If something is one-of-a-kind and created by someone considered an expert, it is worth the highest value. In the end, though, worth is almost entirely determined by what someone would pay to purchase it.

What does that mean for us?

You are rare, a one-of-a-kind. No one has been or will be exactly like you. You were created by the God of the Universe. He designed you intentionally and specifically – unrivaled, unparalleled in artistry or significance.

That’s where the last factor comes in. Someone said you were so worth it, that He would give His life to know you.

Jesus gave His life, so we can know God and be known by Him. Our Creator believes in our worth that much.

So, here’s the legit equation:

One-of-a-Kind + Made by God + The Cross = My Worth

We aren’t worthy because man says we are. We aren’t worthy because we may work hard or look good or experience success. All our worth rests on what God says about us. Nothing added, nothing taken away.

I may be bad at math, but I’ll take that equation any day.

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