Sermon: How Much is Your Self Worth?

How Much is Your Self Worth?  Yes, it’s time for the Sunday Sermon for the non-religious!

Today’s lesson will begin in Matthew, chapter 20.  [Text from New International Version (NIV) via]

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Author’s Intended Meaning vs this Sermon

Clearly this is a parable about the generosity of God and the repeating motif of the fact that the last will be first, and the first will be last. If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you’ll realise that my sermons are not for those with a particular faith but rather are a channel for learning life’s principles. Living Coaching is what I have in mind!
There’s only one verse I want to focus on today:

“Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?” (v13)

That’s a pretty powerful summary of most people’s lives: they’ve agreed to work for whatever their particular ‘denarius’ is.
We live in a Universe that has riches in abundance. We live on the most abundant, resource-rich, and perfectly-suited planet. Nature is generous. Real Wealth never disappears; it just changes hands and form. Humans have even created new genuine wealth – more of it. So let’s get one hurdle out of the way:

there are plenty of denarii to go round!

That leads us to the big question: what is your self worth?

Obviously I’m enjoying the play on words here. I’m asking what your talents are worth in the market, but I was also alluding to the fact that the value you put on your talents is often indicative of your self-worth – the value you put on yourself.
When life gives us a bit of a bashing, it’s easy to begin to devalue your life-currencies: your time, your fees, your ideas, and your attitude. It is, however, the greatest foolishness to let circumstances or even the market define your worth. Consider how many artists (Vincent van Gogh instantly comes to mind) were not valued in their time – but whose works are now worth millions. You might say to me that this is the opposite of the point I am making. You might say that the market is now saying how much they are worth. And you would be right.

stone_table 3

Deeper Magic Before the Dawn of Time

I, however, am talking about the “Deeper Magic before the Dawn of Time”. What do I mean? I mean there is a ‘worth’ that goes far deeper than the magic of market forces. This deeper magic is far more influential on the final outcome. The fact is that:

Vincent van Gogh’s pieces of art were always worth millions – if we value their true worth.

In the current world paradigm, where the art appears on the time-line is defining its worth. That’s the magic of marketing. The market is defining the price. My point is that YOU are more than the time-line you are on. Vincent van Gogh is worth more than his pictures. The artist (i.e. you) are worth more than your art. This is the deeper magic.

In the New Paradigm, the Artist sets the value.

This is what the workers in the vineyard did at the beginning of the day. They agreed to work for a denarius. Later, by comparing themselves with others, they became dissatisfied. Assuming a ten hour day, and taking into account that the last workers got a denarius too for just an hour’s easy work, even the market was valuing them at an hourly rate equivalent to 10 denarii-a-day – ten times their own estimation.
So, if you charge by the hour, how much do you charge? (If you are an employee you can easily work out your hourly rate too. It may even be explicit in your contract.)
Now times that by ten.
That’s a good start.

Delivering Value

I can hear rebellion in the ranks! The thought arises: “No one is ever going to pay me that rate!” You’re right. If I can paraphrase Henry Ford,

“Whether you think you are worth it or not, you’re probably right.”

True wealth comes from true value. Value begins at home. You’ve got to value yourself – otherwise you’ll end up bitter and twisted like the first workers in the vineyard. Notice that by under-valuing themselves they actually became envious of the others because of the Vineyard Owner’s generosity.

Undervaluing yourself does no one any favours.

You and I need a New Paradigm of just how much we are truly worth. Then we need to play to that value. We need to deliver outstanding value.

The Heart of the Agreement

The Vineyard Owner said, “Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?”
Here’s a glimpse of your future:

Don’t agree to work for a denarius. State what you’re worth.

You can pull a “Mr Scott” if that helps. You could say, “I agree to work for ten denarii, but I know you won’t pay that so you’ll give me ____ at this point in time…” They may look at you strangley but the valuable point has been made. Mr Scott was famous for his estimates on repairs. If the Starship Enterprise needed fixing, he’d say it would take so long, then agree that the crew didn’t have that long, so he’d do it in ____ – and you can fill in the gap depending on the episode.
The point is, he delivered the value regardless of the timeframe. He valued his work highly and he was highly valued for it. The timeframe didn’t define the value. Mr Scott’s uniqueness did.

You are unique

You should be internally referenced and externally calibrated.

This means that you alone decide upon your true wealth and value (internally referenced) but you also remain sensitive to where you are on the timeline and what the market environment is like (externally calibrated). The external does not define your true wealth. Work for what you can work for but always deliver based upon your internal reference of what you’re worth. You’ll play a higher level game. You can play from a 2 or you can play from a King (or an Ace when Aces are high). Your choice will be driven the internal reference of your true value.

Wealth begins within.

I had “Rule 5000” stuck to the top of my computer monitors years ago. That was the value I’d put on my day-rate, and that’s what I sought to deliver. It worked for me. The ‘rule’ has changed but the commitment to deliver, and to do whatever it takes to deliver, remains.
Here’s the warning: if you undervalue yourself you will make negative comparisons between your rates and other people’s. You will grumble and become envious. Flipping that over, if you are grumbling and envious because you are comparing yourself against others (if, and only if, they deliver similar or less value than you but get more for it), you can bet your bottom-line that you have seriously undervalued your worth.

So I ask you again, what will the internal sum be that you agree to work for?

What’s your self worth?

Get it right and the last shall be first.


3 thoughts on “Sermon: How Much is Your Self Worth?

  1. I realised in reflecting upon C S Lewis’ theology – he was suggesting, surely, that this age runs by the magic from the dawn of time… but there is a far more powerful set of paradigms: the magic from before the dawn of time. Timeless truths about ‘true wealth’ that transform anything in this age.

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