I noticed the other day that the company who used the catchphrase, “Because you’re worth it” at the end of their advertisements, seem to have dropped the tag. It was a successful catchphrase in commercial terms because the public not only remembered the phrase but also recalled the product – so why has it been dropped? People seemed to find it distasteful. It seemed to speak of the worst of our present culture: selfishness, self-absorption and greed. The advertisement seemed to imply that the person who bought their product was somehow worth more than other people. Stand-up comedians started sending it up. Journalists used the terms as a short-hand to describe an egotistical and spoilt UK. The catchphrase became a bad joke.
The thing is it is not so far from the truth of how we do see ourselves. Time and time again you hear people on television saying the equivalent of ‘because I’m worth it’, in comments like, “I’ve worked hard all my life so I deserve this (as they buy a second home or an expensive car).” A right is claimed that many people in the world cannot claim because, although they have worked hard all their lives, too, often much harder than any of us ever will just to keep body and soul together, the situation they have been born to in their lives will mean they will never receive any of the material good things that we claim as our due. By all means buy a second home or expensive car but don’t try and don’t claim a moral right about it. Be honest, say I have been fortunate or even blessed; not “because I’m worth it.”
But, here is the punch line. We are worth it. God in Christ tells us so. In the crucifixion and the love outpoured there, God is saying, “You are worth it. This is what you are worth to me. In love, through my son Jesus, I will show you how great is my sense of your worth by becoming human, being alongside you and dying for you. You are worth it to me.” The big point in this is that it is not something intrinsic in me: not some huge talent or special quality I possess that makes me worth it. It is all comes from God. It is God valuing me, his love for me that makes me worth it. And, of course, as soon as I take this in, I realise that God has exactly the same attitude towards everyone in his world. We are all worth it, because he makes it so.
What response does this pull out of me? First, an extraordinary sense of gratitude and a greater sense of the worthiness (worth – ness) of our God which leads to genuine worship (worth – ship) and a renewed sense of the value of every person in the world. We are all worth it, thanks be to God.