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Surpassing Worth

Hidden Treasure by Rembrandt
Hidden Treasure by Rembrandt

Throughout the ages men have sought the answer to the question, What is the meaning of life? For some, meaning is found within, for others, it is found outside of us. If man only looks inside or around what always seems to remain is that feeling of inadequacy. Something’s missing. There has to be more to life than this. And it is this feeling that should be a sober warning. For life does have a purpose. Indeed it cannot be without purpose.

You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their values. In Matthew 13:44, Jesus describes the invaluable.

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Notice that the man feels joy. So much joy that what he has found can’t compare to anything else he has. He doesn’t keep his possessions and simply add the kingdom to the heap. No, all that he has ceases to have value when compared to God’s kingdom. It’s priority one in the greatest sense. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)

What is all of this talk about the kingdom? How does one get there and what does this have to do with the meaning of life? Again, if we only look for meaning in or around us, we’re certain to fall short every time. In the long run nothing will seem to satisfy. That’s because under the sun ultimately nothing is worthy. Deep down inside everyone knows this. The problem is that we’re looking in the wrong place. Having failed to find that surpassing worth around us we inevitably look for the surpassing worth within us. This is called pride. Pride makes us think we determine reality and purpose. It’s insane if you think about it. Scripture actually speaks of pride as satanic. (Isaiah 14:12-15)

In direct contrast to worldly values, pride is without profit. It’s a deadly red herring that leads men into glorifying what is unworthy over what is infinitely worthy, God the creator.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

The meaning of life is to glorify God who is alone of surpassing worth. To glorify God is also a joy. God is to be enjoyed forever. This is another picture of the kingdom, and in your joy, you’d sell all you have if you could buy it. But you don’t have to buy it. It’s already paid for. It’s a gift. The greatest gift that God can give is himself. He gave himself through the son, The Lord Christ Jesus. With God there is purpose-his purpose. Without him we are left subject to chance. Without God the only eternal question that remains is suicide. The only choice is God or vanity. So says the psalmist (Psalm 73:25-28):

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

God is glorified when we humbly acknowledge and find joy in our complete dependency on him. He’s glorified because it’s the truth. He is God, and if we weren’t dependent on him that would mean we are God. Only God is God. He is worthy of this recognition.

It all begs the question. If God is eternally good then to what extent are we to glorify and enjoy God? The answer is eternally. Anything less than the eternal glorification of God would be an eternal sin. To think that we could possibly suffice on own own would be, well, prideful. To be truly righteous by God’s standards would require the righteousness of God himself. This was accomplished by God The Son Jesus Christ. Men fail, but believing men succeed through Christ. Because of Jesus we are able to live according to our purpose. We are completely able to glorify and enjoy God forever. This is what Paul refers to in Philippians 3 as surpassing worth. Without Christ we are dead in our trespasses and sins. By faith alone in Christ we are made dead to ourselves and alive in him. We love him as our Lord and Savior, walk in his ways, and rejoice in all his graces. God is truly glorified. This is the end for which we were created.

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Joshua Ambrose

Joshua Ambrose is a restless disciple of Christ and sometimes whimsical mischief-maker. When not writing about theology, he writes about philosophy, history, economics, finance and basically anything that involves being a good neighbor in a way that honors his Lord.

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