It’s a constant refrain. I see it all the time. It’s everywhere. It’s in me and it’s in you.
I first noticed it last week when I took on childcare responsibilities for 9 (mostly) preschool age children. At one point during our time together one of them said to me, “Watch how fast I can run!” I did and followed up with, “Wow! You are super-duper fast! How can you go that fast?” I was immediately (a drastic understatement) surrounded by a cacophony of children, much like moths to a light bulb. The first one said, “Watch how fast I can run!” She took off. The next one, “Watch how fast I can run!” He zoomed on. Another, “Watch how fast I can run!” He gone. And on and on it went. Simply amazing. One child wanting to show how fast they could run, met with my immediate praise and validation. Before you could say “potty time,” I was surrounded by small children wanting the same thing.
Less than 36 hours later, my wife and I are standing on the side of Highway 31 awaiting the Homecoming Parade for Independence High School. We are soon greeted by over 70 floats. Each float representing a different group. The soccer float for ninth graders. The volleyball float for eleventh graders. The varsity football float. The JV cheerleader float. The dance team float. The theater float. The pride float. The float for left handed truck drivers. You get the idea. Every group imaginable passed before our eyes. Every human on every float screaming (internally) the same thing. Every teenager longing for it.
Ten hours later I was sitting in the stands at Independence High School. I saw it again. It is no respecter of age. I already knew preschoolers and teenagers longed for it. Now, however, as I waited for kickoff – I noticed it in us adults. We reveal it in our dress. We make it known through our conversation. It is present in what we drive.
And then I saw it all weekend as I glutted myself on football. College players strive for it. Pro Football Players exude it.
It’s a constant refrain. I saw it all weekend long. It’s everywhere. It’s in me and it’s in you.
We long to be worthy. We are starving to have our worth validated. We will do anything in order to feel worthy.
Preschoolers want to show their pastor how fast they can run. Why? So they can hear from him how amazed he is at their superstar talent. Teenagers find themselves in groups that will accept them and help hold up their perceived worth to one another. Adults wear clothes and try to hide fat and drive cars and work out and talk about their occupation to demonstrate their worth to others. And Pro Football players exude their longing to be worthy by hoping to pad their stats. I mean, why else is Tom Brady still playing football??
Every human being you encounter today – including yourself – is longing to be worthy. To be enough. To be validated for existing. To know that he or she has great worth. And no human being you encounter today will ever know or be satisfied in their true worth until they see it through the sacrifice of Jesus. God gave the eternal Son of Man because He loves us. Go back and read that sentence again. Want to know your worth? The Son of God was given over for you. We are worthy because (a) He made us; (b) He chose to love us; and (c) He revealed His love for us by dying to give us life. Our worth, in other words, has never been based on what we do or how much we have. It is and always has been based on God’s making us worthy. The Father wired us for this longing. It is part of the essence of being human. It will never be fulfilled until we let our minds and hearts “go there.”
Pay attention today. To yourself. To those around you. Before you can say “potty time,” you’ll see it.