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John 21:17

The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."

November 22, 2000

A Sense of Self Worth

I do public relations work for a living: administering a web site, handling media relations, producing brochures, and so forth. Recently I suffered one of those workplace indignities that the world is so good at throwing at us.

My boss was upset about the unkept condition of our building and wanted to make a point to the janitorial crew. So he came to my office and told me to get out the digital camera, because he had an assignment for me.

Just like that, my job was reduced to seeking out and taking photographs of filthy stairwells.

As I was skulking the hallways, snapping the pictures and grumbling, all I could think of was how demeaning it was. I said to myself, "Right. THIS is what I went to graduate school for."

But then, as I was trying to get just the right angle to capture a big pile of dirt, it dawned on me: "Thank God I'm a Christian. There is a purpose to my life other than this!"

And I immediately thought about how God's presence fills my life. I know what he is doing through me at work and at home, with friends, neighbors, and people I've just met. And I was grateful.

Suddenly I didn't care anymore that I was on my hands and knees, photographing dustballs. And it didn't matter that my boss had tromped on my sense of professionalism.

I realized my sense of self worth comes from God. I am worth something because God loves me unconditionally. And his purpose for my life has to do with who I am becoming through him.

I was in a ridiculous situation. But God used it to drive home a big point to me. When we realize the God of the universe loves us and thinks we're special, and then we start walking with him, something incredible happens inside. We lose our sense of fear and our need for the approval of other people.

The truth is, nothing——not our job, boss, friends, family members, circumstances, or social standing——nothing can take away the fact that we matter to him.


Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death?...

No! Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.

Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

— Romans 8:35; 37-39 (NLT)