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We all want things, beautiful things, and the world tells us that we deserve to have whatsoever our sweet little hearts desire.  You’re worth it, girl! That is an au-courant phrase in popular culture. Even companies are capitalizing on it for their marketing campaigns. But are we really “worth it”?

Now, I am not questioning your worth as a human being. No, I am questioning your worth vis-à-vis what you say you want or deserve.  We all, humans, are made in God’s image.  Our status as the crème de la crème of creation is very well entrenched and uncontestable.  God Himself makes that clear.  Intrinsically, no man is superior or inferior to the other. We’re all equal; no soul is worth more than the other.

Nevertheless, there is a parting of ways, there is a fork in the road by which men get to rank themselves and to distinguish themselves from the homogeneity that we all share as God’s children.  We accomplish this separation by the things we love and give ourselves to.  We create a separate category for ourselves when invest all that we are in virtuous and honorable pursuits that contribute to the progress of society.  Such ventures, we must argue, accrue a certain level of importance that is separate and extraneous to our inherent worth as humans.

This means that our application of our God-given skills, talents and opportunities allows us to attain a level of recognition that is not equally distributed to all.  This demands our active participation; it demands our ambition and drive; it demands self-denial and maturity; it demands our willingness to wholly give of ourselves to the attainment of a worthy goal or cause.

Each man or woman has an equal opportunity to distinguish his or herself in this manner.  The opportunity is equal to us all, because we can all give of ourselves to whatever cause that we choose. This is independent of where we live in the world, our race, gender or socio-economic position. Every human being is fully capable of serving others wholeheartedly in any area where there is need.

Note that the value of this distinction is not measured in dollars and cents; in fact, to attempt to measure its value in monetary terms is to insult and diminish it.  The factual worth of this contribution can only be ascertained and fairly judged by the people whose lives it has touched.  The recipients of the work stand in the best stead to inform us of the value they’ve received; this is the best way to measure our contribution, and hence our separation from the pack of average humanity. The beneficiaries of our work will remember how well we served them, even if no one else knows our name or our contributions.

When we talk of “unsung heroes”, we are often referring to the group of people who have made valuable contributions to their communities, nations and even the world, but who didn’t receive the recognition that they so justly deserved.  But fame and public acclamation, as encouraging as they are, are not the true measurement of service rendered.  The most genuine way to gauge impact and the recognition we receive from the impact we make, is to look in people’s hearts, to investigate the wonderful memories that they bear of us, and how our work influenced their lives.

These memories will last much longer that any television or newspaper headline; these memories will outlive the news circle and the fleeting social medial fame.  These memories will even outlast many financial rewards received today. These memories are eternal. Many generations hence might come to know the service we rendered, even if it’s only in our local communities and neighborhoods.

There is a beautiful inscription in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. It states: “In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever”. The sixteenth president of the United States died over one-hundred and fifty years ago. Yet his memory lives in the hearts of the people, even today. We don’t have to visit the memorial to understand and appreciate what Lincoln did for the nation; his service is etched on the tablets of our hearts. His service to the nation is how he set himself apart from ordinary men, thus making himself deserving of our approbation.  He is worth it!


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