I really enjoy watching Public TV’s Antiques Roadshow. Hundreds of people show up at their events to see what their special items are worth. I’m always hoping, as I am sure they are, that the $4.00 poster they bought at the flea market is worth $1,000 or maybe $10,000!
During the show, antique experts describe the guests’ items with great detail. Each of the experts have pedigrees in antiques and art history and are more than qualified to state the true value of the items they review. For years these experts and appraisers study their specialty area – rugs, folk art, jewelry, art, toys, pop culture items – so they can arrive at the true value of an item.
The experts gush about the style of the art, the history and success of the artist, the exquisite quality of the item, the hidden compartments of an item, the painstaking manufacturing process and best of all…the item’s uniqueness and rarity. They know where the items come from. They can even tell you how many of a similar item are in existence. They marvel at the worth of the items brought before them and they, more than anyone, truly appreciate the quality and uniqueness of the items. The appraisers themselves are often astonished at the workmanship of what some ordinary person has lugged in from their cluttered living room.
The owners of these goods usually do not know what they have. They think the chair is just a “nice chair that my great uncle gave me”….they think the 1920s gold watch their grandfather left them is worth maybe a few hundred dollars…they think the Dutch artwork of America’s Cup sailing ships is worth maybe $900….“so said the appraiser back home”.
Often people buy their items at a local garage sale or, in one case, a young man took an antique chair as payment for his $750 monthly rent. Items of great value sometimes get treated like rag-tag dolls, or as in the case of the rent, they get traded for far less than their worth. The rug in the attic no one else in the family wanted has been collecting dust for 40 years. The (first-release) production script from Gone with the Wind is “probably a copy”. Not knowing the true value of their item, they can be heard saying, ” Well, I’ve always kept it up on the shelf in the kitchen by the sugar”. In ignorance, this is they way they treat their rare 1700s-era silver creamer cup with hand-carved etched scenes of New England on the sides.
But oh, the reaction when the owners discover the true worth of their item. Their mouths drop open…they slowly shake their head back in forth in disbelief…they say “Really?? Really!!!! You’ve got to be kidding….It’s worth what!?”….”My gosh, how should I get it home…I don’t want to break it”. Now they see their item’s for their true worth! They reach up and cover their mouths and sometimes sit stunned silence as they find out their item’s worth. They’re astonished at what they now see, not as an ordinary item, but as a highly valued item – their highly valued item. There is also a sense of family pride as they now begin to more deeply appreciate their loving uncle for leaving the valuable item in their care. The joy that emanates from their face as they listen to the antique expert describe the item can be described as a sort of state of awe…as though they were absorbing some truth from another world.
After hearing the true value of the item, the owners seem to instantly think differently about the item. It’s no longer “just a rug” or “just a painting”….it’s special, cherished, valuable….joy emerges….all because a skilled appraiser shared the real story and value of the object.
So it is with us.
For many of us, the appraiser of our lives seems to be the people and world’s messages that come our way. We are pegged by the world as a “fair market value”. We’re “pretty good” people. We’re “just getting along”…..some of us are just “poor sinners who limp through the world doing the best we can”. There’s no question we’re not as good as “Mr. Smith down the road….or the famous TV preacher or the Priest”. No we are not perfect, but as children of God we’re also not ragged, pitiful, worthless people either.
We rarely fathom the immense value God has placed on us and in us.
As redeemed saints, we are his prize possession. He is full of love for us and He delights in us…..He delights in us….let that sink in. He delights in you. Those words, as spoken by God in the Bible, are true and real and are to be cherished. What God says about us can guide how we see ourselves (as loved)…this truth of who we really are should guide our thoughts, our deeds, our love for others, our courage, our hopes….our destiny.
We are exquisitely made, we are a masterpiece, we are priceless, we are beautiful to Him. We are redeemed saints. We are part of His royal family. We are majestic in His sight. We are priceless and extremely valued children of the most high God. We can wander around His throne room and play hop-scotch if we want. He wants us to “come boldly to His throne of grace” and be his kids….we are free to know we are loved and valued completely by Him.
As in the story of the prodigal son, our Father simply wants us to know we are loved extraordinarily so and that, as redeemed children of God, we are highly esteemed. That love, that powerful love He has for us, can keep us from all sorts of evil and harm and fear and depression. It can also inspire us to great moments dedicated to Him here on earth. Relish this thought….that God ordained you for His great family’s purposes….to love Him, to yield to His ways and to love others…that love is what draws others to Him. Know this today….that you have an astoundingly loving Father who is wildly happy about you, far more-so than you may ever know….at least here on this earth.
A Worth Now Known
Shouts of joy now echo forth
as love rains on my soul.
And leap about in wild release,
True worth now clearly known!
Told to me by those nearby
My worth was none but par.
Yet now I see what God hath done
He prized me from afar.
He dreamed of me before time stood.
He gazed at me with pride.
“You are my child”, He said to me,
“My love is at your side”.
But oh, it’s true! I know deep down
And did not know before,
With heart a racing fully now
For what shall lay in store.
My worth now measured by a King;
He told me in His Word.
“Now run and laugh and jump for joy
and let My love be heard.”
Luke 15: 20-24 (NIV – bold added) “Story of the Prodigal Son”
20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Psalms 139:14 (New Living Translation) “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”
Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”