skip to main content


How much are you worth today?

Defining Self-Worth

We can complete a personal financial statement that ends in a line Total Net Worth, but does that equal our self-worth?

Some of us have a reputation by which people identify us, and because of that reputation, people ask our opinions. We are asked to be on committees and lend our influence to a particular cause, but does that reflect our self-worth?

Some of us are members of a known group, and because of that membership, we have instant credibility in certain circles. Just because we associate with a group of people, does that identify our self-worth?

Some of us can list clusters of the alphabet after our names which come from years of diligence and study, but does that reveal our self-worth?

So, is a person who has money, is a celebrity in some circles, belongs to an influential club, and has spent the required time to earn a Ph. D. worth more than the young person who waited on you at the breakfast diner this morning?

Typical Measurements

We are all guilty of attaching one or more cultural measurements to our self in an attempt to calculate our worth. Although there are many ways to measure self-worth, for simplicities sake, I have reduced them into four categories.

1. Work

It is easy to see your worth while working. You are worth whatever you do that someone else does not have to do. An employee is worth their wages to the owner because the owner now does not have to do that job.

But you have the choice to be worth more than that because you show up, encourage other employees, and serve as a cheerful spirit on the work floor. Those tasks are not part of a job description, but they identify an added value of your work for the company.

2. Family

At home, you are worth what you put in the home environment. The easy tasks associated with worth are taking out the trash, cooking, and keeping the cars running.

But you have the choice to be worth more. You can choose to participate in the family, encourage each other, and bring joy and intimacy to the other family members. If you think these do not have worth, look to a family who has lost one of their members. They grieve this hole in their lives because they miss these intangible parts of the missing family member.

3. Reputation

Your reputation brings you value. Maybe it is a group you belong to or and public stance you took that defines who you are.

But this value of worth from a reputation is always a choice you get to make. Reputations are ever changing and are dependent on what others think. If the groups’ reputation suffers, so will yours. If the public opinion of what you do changes, so will your reputation and subsequently your value.

4. Community

Another measurement of worth is measuring your value to your community, city, state country, and ultimately the world. Just like your reputation, your worth to the community is a choice you get to make. Do you want to be influential in your neighborhood, city, state, and country? Do you want to make a difference in the world? The choices you make all affect your worth to your community.

Bigger Area of influence

The problem in using any or all of these measures of worth (work, family, reputation, community) to establish your personal feeling of self-worth is that your worth get smaller the bigger your world is.

You may feel good about your contribution to your small office, but it is difficult to see you have any influence at all in the world. On the other hand, you may become so focused globally that you neglect your family and community.

Any measurement of your self-worth in one area will simultaneously detract from your self-worth in another. That is why all manmade measurements of self-worth are self-defeating.

The Bible

The point is that all popular ways of measuring your self-worth are dependent on other people, which will always be insufficient. To truly have your self-worth independent of what anyone else does or says, you need to look for a higher power.

Here is where the One who made you comes into play. God created you in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-16) and were chosen by God before the foundations of the earth were laid (Ephesians 1:4). We are God’s possessions and have been chosen for His glory (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Many see their worth in their bank accounts. Others find worth in their family relationships, their jobs or some title their city, state, or country has given them.

But when you look at the creation of the world, the best place to find worth, true self-worth, is in the Creator Himself. He created you, loves you and cares for you. There is nothing worth more than that.