No sleep. Hours of painful labor. Eight thousand diaper changes. Thousands of dollars in clothing and braces and education and frozen pizzas. Looking back on the years, what would a parent say? “Worth it.”
No sleep. Hours of painful labor. Eight thousand employee changes. Thousands of dollars in overhead and inventory and self-made education and coffee. Looking back on the creation of a business, what would an entrepreneur say? “Worth it.”
No sleep. Hours of painful labor. Twenty-nine thousand feet of altitude change. Thousands of dollars in climbing equipment and Sherpa fees and granola bars. Looking out at the view from the summit, what would a mountain climber say? “Worth it.”
Parenting. Starting a business. Mountain climbing. Not easy things. But … worth it.
What will we say when we look back over our Christian lives? Our walk with Jesus—will it be worth the hours of pain and suffering from persecution in its various forms, the thousands of dollars in Christian education, the thousands of hours spent at God’s house, the hardships of denying ourselves of some earthly pleasures we feel we deserve? Worth it? God says yes.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:18-21)
In other words, future glory is worth it. This walk of faith is worth it. God is worth it. He is worthy—worthy of our whole selves, our sacrifices, our pain, and our praise. To put aside what we want and when we want it and serve God and serve people with our whole selves is worth it. Opening up our pocketbooks and our homes and our hearts is worth it. It may not seem like it yet. It may seem like we are throwing away the chance to “live our best lives,” as the world defines it. Jesus did not promise a world free of suffering and pain for those who follow him. In fact, he promised just the opposite. But he also promised that it would be worth it. And God always keeps his promises.
That promise of future glory, of a treasure in heaven worth far more than we could ever imagine here on earth . . . that gives us the capacity to deny ourselves, sell everything we treasure in this life, and pursue with gusto the treasure of heaven. Because it is worth it. And he is worthy.
You know what the craziest thing is? Somehow God looked down at us and decided we were worth it—worth him sending his one and only Son to save us by dying on a cross.
When George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, he famously answered, “Because it’s there.” Had God been asked in an interview after he sent his only Son to earth, he might have answered, “Because they’re there.” There was no way we could ascend to his glory on our own. We needed a Savior.
Mallory failed to summit Everest. But God’s descent succeeded. We hear the angels singing the praises of his success:
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9)
Did you catch the reason for Jesus’ worthiness? Not because he could feed a huge crowd. Not because he could heal the sick and change water into wine. Not because he had the power to come off the cross. Nope, just the opposite. But because he was slain on that cross. As a former English teacher, I’d like you to please note the passive voice verb. And yet, this was anything but passive. This was love in action. Jesus endured the cross. He suffered and bled and died for our sins. And when he looks back on this, you know what he says? “Worth it!”