My favorite line of one of my favorite worship songs from “My Worth Is Not In What I Own” by the Getty’s states, “Two wonders here that I confess, my worth and my unworthiness.”
The first few times I sang this song it made me pause to ponder before it finally clicked how brilliant of a line this is. In our finite mind, we put people in one of two categories. Either people are worthy or unworthy. There is no in-between. We work at our job, in our relationships, and in school so that people around us will see us as worthy of our position.
This idea has falsely infiltrated much of our modern theology to think that we can somehow work hard enough to earn God’s favor. Jesus tells a parable in Luke 17:7-10 to the disciples sharing that no amount of work can ever make a servant worthy of their master. In fact, Jesus states that even when we obey all that Christ commands we are still ‘unworthy servants.’
So where does that leave us? Jesus tells his disciples that they are unworthy servants so how do they become worthy? How can we ever be worthy?
In Luke 22:24-30, not long after Jesus tells them they are unworthy servants we find the disciples arguing about who is the greatest among them. There is great irony in arguing about who is the best among them when the Messiah is in their presence. As they argue about who is the greatest, Jesus gets down, humbles himself, and washes their feet. Jesus is the clear winner in the greatest of all competition; the only one who is worthy. Yet he stoops down to perform an act that only the most unworthy normally perform.
There is the answer. How do we who are unworthy somehow become worthy? We become worthy because Jesus, the only worthy servant, lifted us up to be worthy. Not because of our works, but because of Jesus’ actions on the cross. So when we sing “my worth and my unworthiness.”
We are realizing that we are unworthy because of our sin. We have separated ourselves from God. But we are worthy because Christ’s blood and the gift of salvation have made us worthy. The only chance you ever have to be worthy is by the grace of the Creator.