Summary: Society promises us wonderful things, but many times only gives us feelings of inadequacy. This is a sermon to remind you that you are important because you are a child of the Most-High God! Text & audio will be placed at - www.sermonlist.com
Years ago, there was a TV show called Kojak. It starred Telly Savalas as a lollipop-sucking detective who always went around saying, “Who loves ya, Baby?”
I think that is the one thing all humans need more than anything else; to know we are loved. Without love, we feel worthless and unimportant and useless. And humans need to feel useful and worthwhile. That is one reason we always tend to compare ourselves with other people. Sometimes we consider ourselves better than them, and sometimes we wish we were as good as they are.
We base our level of importance on:
· Our appearance
· Our achievements
· Our being approved by others
· Our wealth or power
Do I look good enough? Have I done enough? What will others think of me? Am I important enough or powerful enough?
And every one of these areas is based primarily upon one thing; where we rate ourselves in comparison to other people. We need to be loved; we need to be accepted; and we need to feel self-worth.
The problem with these four standards is that none of them are stable. They will all change depending on moment-to-moment circumstances. Appearances change with time. There will always be somebody who can do more than us and do it better than we can; how well others like you can change in the blink of an eye; and your affluence can change with one bad choice.
The trouble with letting things like these dictate your self-worth is that your self-worth will always be changing and you will never know from one moment to the next where you stand. And, what do you think your self-worth will be when those things change?
A gem dealer was strolling through a gem & mineral show in Tucson, Arizona when he noticed a large bluish colored stone the size of a potato. He looked it over, and asked the vendor how much he wanted for it. The man said he was trying to get $15.00 for it, but since it wasn’t that pretty, he let it go for $10.00.
The stone has since been certified as a 1,905-carat natural star sapphire. It is larger than any stone of its kind. And, it is appraised at $2.28 million.
It took a lover of stones to recognize the sapphire’s worth. It took the Lover of Souls to recognize the true value of people like you and me. If you want to build your self-image, build it on something that will last; build it on what God think of you, not on what the world thinks of you. When we understand what God thinks of us, it changes the way we see ourselves, and that starts changing our hearts to be Christ-like.
There is a very good example of that in the New Testament. It involves a man named Zacchaeus, and we are going to talk about him this morning.
Zacchaeus was a man who lived in the city of Jericho. One day Jesus came to Jericho and Zacchaeus had an encounter with Jesus that changed his life.
LUKE 19:1-4 tells us about that encounter.
“Jesus entered Jericho and made His way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was one of the most influential Jews in the Roman tax collecting business; and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowds. So, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree beside the road, so he could watch from there.”
Zacchaeus was hoping to see this Jesus; the man everyone was talking about. He didn’t know this, but he needed Jesus in the worst of ways. If there was ever a man who needed a stronger sense of self worth, it was Zacchaeus, because in the four ways we evaluate ourselves, he struck out in the first three.
His appearance was not the most beautiful to look at because of his very short stature; the only real achievements he ever had was overcharging people and cheating them for his own financial gain; and his approval rating was in the sewer because he collected taxes from the Jews and gave them to the Roman government. But, he was wealthy.
First of all, to become a tax collector you had to bribe an official. Secondly, Rome told you how much to collect, and if you were able to collect more, you could keep the extra. Similar to what it seems like the IRS does to us today. Zacchaeus was pretty good at gouging his fellow Jews, so he ended up being quite wealthy.
For a Jewish man to become a Roman tax collector was unthinkable. This was high treason. It was like going over to Iraq and joining the terrorists who are fighting against us today. You would be hated for being a traitor. If you became a Roman tax collector as a Jew it meant three things.