The big idea of Worth Season
Worth Season is the time of year to discover the heroic side of Jesus and how we as worthy finishers fulfill the purpose he had when he laid down his life. Worth Season is about his total commitment to his agonizing assignment in God's campaign.
Here is the big idea, the Worth Rhythm we focus on during Worth Season:
God is on a campaign to make us worthy of our calling as campaign team members. Through the example of Jesus carrying his cross, God inspires and empowers us to carry our cross. We show our worth by honorably enduring the world's criticism for the sake of his campaign.
The Bible is one long coherent story. The sad pattern repeated through most of this story is that we humans keep disgracing ourselves. Adam and Eve did it, Moses did it, David did it, Israel did it as a nation, even Jesus's followers did it when he was arrested. We don't seem to be worth much.
Jesus broke that pattern. He was a worthy finisher, faithful to the death. He showed us how it is done by locking onto his God-given mission and refusing to let human shaming and violence influence him.
By itself, his heroic example does not guarantee we will have what it takes to copy him. But he gives us more than a good example by promising to be with us continuously as we go about our risky, painful mission (Matthew 28.20).
He moves into our lives by putting his Spirit into us, connecting us to him constantly. His presence is the source of our courage.
Here is the other half of the big idea of Worth Season:
God's campaign strategy for our era is to impress the world with what he can do with people who aren't even worthy of making his team at all. We former cowards are taking heroic actions now. How can we? The Spirit of Jesus makes the campaign more important to us than our own welfare.
It is easy to think that Jesus had the courage and faith to carry his cross heroically because he was the Son of God, but we don't have that courage because we are not God. We lift Jesus up as a hero but we don't expect ourselves to be like him. We call people to admire his courage whether we have any courage ourselves or not.
But if we think this way, we are out of SYNC with God's strategy for our time. He has already shown the world how much loyalty and courage Jesus had. Now he wants to show the world that Jesus can inject his heroic courage into ordinary people so we can follow his example when we have to "carry our cross" for God's campaign.
Carrying our cross has nothing to do with general pains in life, such as a traffic accident, a chronic physical condition like arthritis, parenting an unruly child, or experiencing financial struggles. Our "cross" is the pain we feel specifically because of the opposition we run into as we carry out our assignments in God's campaign.
Of course, we never run into opposition at all if we don't do any campaign work. But in that case, what are we worth to the campaign and its director, King Jesus? Nothing. We may even get in the way. Why did we join the team at all if we weren't going to do what the team does?
But if we do our campaign assignments even when we get criticized or attacked for it, that's a different story. Jesus smiles on us and shines the spotlight on our surprisingly heroic actions in order to show what he can do with people as weak as we are.
He is putting his strength into us so we can finish his campaign worthily, enduring any and all opposition. That is his strategy, and it plays out in the life of everyone who listens to him for his campaign assignments.
Bottom line of the big idea of Worth Season:
We see ourselves in Christ as worthy finishers, showing the world that no shaming or violence will break our loyalty to the campaign that Christ died for. He was raised to keep leading the campaign team, and we live in SYNC with the personal instructions that he still gives us--one day at a time.
Our campaign message is that Jesus the Messiah is the most valuable person who ever walked the earth. He is the key to connecting, healing, and blessing the world. He is seated on the throne of the universe! (Hebrews 12.2)
But on his way to the throne, he out-suffered us all. He took more physical, legal, and personal abuse than we will ever know. And through it all, he never wavered in his commitment to his excruciating assignment as the campaign Spearhead. That is heroic, and God honored it.
Jesus defended his honor by not defending it, that is, he showed his true worth not by using violence against those who shamed him but by disregarding their shaming, not reacting to it at all. He let God's opinion, not human opinions, tell him what he was worth.
When you SYNC, when you See Yourself iN Christ as a worthy finisher, it means worthy in God's eyes. We accept human opposition as our cross, carry it quietly, and even let people think we are losers. Jesus did, and he is with us by his Spirit, giving us whatever it takes to get through whatever we have to get through.
And that is why we stay focused on Jesus, "the champion who initiates and perfects our faith." (Hebrews 12.1) Our faith or trust comes from him and leads us to him. This is the trust that "overcomes the world." (1 John 5.4)
When we look at Jesus carrying the cross, we know he looks like he has lost, but we also know that things are not what they seem. The hopeless loser is on his God-appointed way to his destiny as the ultimate winner.
Our role as worthy finishers, staying loyal under fire
Here is the big picture, the flow of the story that leads up to Jesus carrying his cross:
Everyone expected that the Messiah would come with God's glory and power, demanding the respect the world owed him
Jesus built a massive popular following by healing many people and by sending 70 followers out across the country with his proclamation that God's reign on earth was about to begin
He was hailed by crowds as the nation's deliverer when he entered Jerusalem for the annual national "Freedom Festival" (Passover, celebrating the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt)
He entered the national Temple in Jerusalem and started giving orders like he was in charge, clearing out the people who were profiteering on their monopoly of sacrificial animals and foreign exchange
To the delight of the crowds, he humiliated the religious establishment when they got into some verbal duels with him; violence was the only option they had left to stop him
He foresaw his suffering and death, prayed for escape, but ended by saying to his Father, "Not my will, but yours be done."
The establishment plotted to arrest him after dark, try him at night (which was against their own law!), and get him executed by 9 the next morning, before the crowds could organize to try to stop it.
When we realize that he, the King of the universe and the Spearhead of God's campaign, carried that cross under those conditions, any cross we have to carry looks a lot smaller. He has won our respect and our loyalty to the death.
The King has sent us to continue his mission of mercy, which was the focus of the previous season of the SYNC annual cycle. Now, during Worth Season, we put our bodies where our mouths are. We accept shame, pain, whatever, and show the world how far we are willing to go for the sake of that mercy mission. It is all that matters to us.
As worthy finishers, we love to repeat the Worth Declaration:
I see myself in Christ as a worthy finisher. I see this day as a day to remember Jesus carrying his cross, and to live like it matters.
This Declaration SYNCs us with the intentions Jesus had when he as our example carried his cross. The Declaration connects us with him, the Spearhead and Director of God's campaign. We honor him by carrying our crosses, accepting any disgrace we may suffer for the success of the campaign.
No wonder the cross is such a central Christian symbol. It tells us to feel our worth according to God's view, not human shaming, and somehow, being reminded of our true worth never gets old.
No wonder Jesus's suffering and death are thankfully celebrated in so many songs. His death made losers like us eligible to be included in his campaign, and now it inspires us to become worthy of a share in his victory.
This fantastic sense of our own worth in Christ doesn't lead us to look down on others as worth less than we are. Not at all. We see them as people who don't know what they are worth. They didn't get the memo. Our job as members of the campaign team is to get the memo to them so they can join us in the joy of realizing their worth and ours.
How Worth Season fits into the SYNC annual cycle
Worth Season is the sixth of seven seasons in the SYNC annual cycle.
First season (Life) -- humanity disobeyed our Creator as if we were worthless, disgraced creatures
Second season (Roots) -- God said we are worth saving, and he has a plan to do that through the descendants of Abraham
Third season (Freedom) -- Jesus, the most worthy person ever, was rejected as worthless and executed as a criminal
Fourth season (Power) -- God's power raised Jesus from the grave, honored him as the true Messiah, and revived the campaign through him
Fifth season (Mercy) -- Jesus mercifully assigned worth to us by paying a high price to rescue us, the price of his own blood as our sacrifice
Sixth season (Worth Season) -- As we represent Jesus, the world attacks us as worthless, but we endure by the example and the presence of Jesus
In the previous season (Mercy Season) we saw ourselves as mercy agents, telling the story of the final Day of Atonement and urging people to receive their pardon during the Grace Period. Now in Worth Season we see ourselves as worthy finishers, enduring the opposition we get as we represent Jesus.
Our endurance is strengthened as we glance ahead to the one remaining season in the cycle--Vision Season. Sufferings are not permanent. The campaign victory of Jesus will be.