My husband’s grandmother, Mema, has filled several china cabinets with antique glassware. One cabinet in particular contains milk glass, which was very popular in the 1950s and 60s. Some of Mema’s collection always belonged to her, while other pieces she acquired at various sales. Many of the bowls, pitchers, and creamers in her cabinet are valued at more than $250.00 each, yet she never paid even close to that amount of money for any of them. In fact, she bought most items for a few dollars each at local yard sales.
Whenever we visit Mema, she delights in showing me her newest treasure and loves telling me how little she paid for it. Her recollections of how she adds to her milk glass menagerie remind me of the PBS program Antique Road Show where people wait for an expert to assess the value of their garage sale finds. I once watched a lady nearly faint when a little glass egg she purchased for 50 cents was appraised at $2,000.
Thinking it was junk and hoping to get it out of their house, the sellers of the egg unknowingly traded a precious heirloom for pocket change. The worth of the bauble cannot be denied even though it’s value was misunderstood.
Just as we can miss the true value of material items, humans can be terrible judges when it comes to the value of other people.
Nearly 20 years ago, I volunteered at a children’s hospital in Orlando where I spent three hours a week loving and holding little ones who no one else wanted: the tiny infant addicted to crack; the two-year-old boy with all four of his limbs broken by his stepfather, and a teenage girl who attempted to end her life because she could no longer tolerate living with abusive parents–all are children I will never forget.
Each one of those precious children held immeasurable value, yet each one was treated like a fragment of waste to be discarded. The fact that their worth was miscalculated and overlooked by others, doesn’t lessen the significance of their lives.
I’m guessing that you’d be quick to agree with me about that statement. But how quick are you to apply that sentiment to yourself? Can you boldly proclaim that your worth is not determined by the opinions and actions of other human beings? If your answer is yes, then I am the first to shout “Amen” for you. If you hesitate to answer that question (as I have been in the past), I’m here to assure you that no matter how often you may have been overlooked and undervalued by man, you priceless.
When it comes to antiques, there are historians and other experts able to assign value to the item they assess. When it comes to humans, there is one expert who knows our worth. He has studied the human race from the moment Adam sat up and brushed off some of the very dust that was used to create him. The consummate professor of mankind knows every inch of us because He also is our creator. And He is the only one qualified to assign the price you are worth to Him … and to the world He put you in.
Christ is the living Stone. People did not accept him. But God chose him. God places the highest value on him. You also are like living stones. As you come to him you are being built into a house for worship. There you will be holy priests. You will offer spiritual sacrifices. God will accept them because of what Jesus Christ has done. (1 Peter 2:4-5 New International Reader’s Version)
You’re so worth so much to Jesus that he spent three decades away from the adoration of heaven to live rejected in a climate of cruelty. Jesus didn’t step away from glory and allow himself to be nailed bloody and broken on a cross for trash. He came for us, died for us and lives again for us because we matter to him and we have a purpose for him.
Remember that next time you’re wondering if you matter all that much. Remember that anyone who even dares hint that your value is limited, isn’t qualified to judge the masterpiece their looking at. Your importance on this earth was determined long before you gulped that first blast of air into your lungs and your worth is not affected by the opinions of others. Ever.