Read: Psalm 139:13-16; Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 5:6-11
What could we buy with $30? What could we do with that sum? Well, we could purchase almost seven family-size bags of potato chips and have a snack. Who likes sour cream and onion? Or, we could purchase approximately eight gallons of gas and take a ride. Both of these might be fun; however, a man in Concord, Massachusetts really got quite a bit more bang for his buck. He took his $30 and bought a drawing at an estate sale. Guess what? This piece of art that Jean-Paul Carlihan's family sold for $30 is likely to yield around $50 million at auction. It was thought to be a worthless copy and had been in Carlihan's family since 1919; however, it is an original piece of art drawn by Albrecht Durer and it is around 500 years old. Neither those who held the estate sale or the ones who purchased the piece knew that it is Durer's "Virgin and Child with Flower on a Grassy Bank". A rare and valuable find to be sure; yet, until the piece was tested by those who understand how to evaluate art, it was viewed as worthless. Only a cheap copy and not worth keeping. Just think. It might have been discarded years ago, and if that had been the case, its value would have never been appreciated.
As unfortunate as that scenario might have been, a far greater tragedy occurs every day, and it has been escalating during these past few years. Sadly, I'm talking about precious people who are made in God's image attempting to and actually committing suicide.
I know the reasons for these tragic circumstances are many and varied, and I don't share these thoughts to offer simplistic answers. Instead, I simply would like to remind us of precious truth from the Bible. Light for those of us who belong to Jesus to hold out to others if the opportunity arises. Reminders that we and each person with whom we interact are valuable to God.
FASHIONED BY GOD, Psalm 139:13-16
What makes a piece of art valuable? Of course, it is the artist. For example, what if I painted a picture and put it out for auction? I would most likely have to pay someone to take it off my hands. Only a person who has a name and one who is gifted in art can create a masterpiece. In Psalm 139:13-16, we are reminded of the truth that God is at work in the life of each human being as he is developing in the womb. Yes, the One Who made all that we see from what we cannot see, Hebrews 11:3, is also overseeing each person's development. In Exodus 4:11, the Lord even said that He takes responsibility for creating both those who have handicaps and those who do not. Each one, no matter his ability or deficit, is fearfully and wonderfully made. Valuable to his Creator. What precious intricate work God does even before each person takes his first breath. The One who thought up and created the butterfly, the rose and the majestic waterfalls is the same One Who created each person with unique gifts and beauty. We're valuable because we are crafted by the Master Artist.
MADE IN HIS IMAGE, Genesis 1:26-27
First, we looked at the individuality of each of us. No two alike. Now let's remind ourselves of what all human beings share. We are God's special creations not because of our outward beauty or our intelligence. No, we are unique because we are made to be in relationship with God. We have been given the free will to love or turn away from Him. We don't live instinctively like animals; instead, we have been given the ability to serve and obey God. The choice is ours. How valuable we are to God to have been given the opportunity to obey and love Him or turn our backs on Him, something that He never wants us to do. In fact, we are so precious to Him that rejecting Him breaks His heart, Genesis 6:5-6; Luke 19:41-44.
BOUGHT WITH HIS BLOOD, 1 Peter 1:18-19
Back to the drawing done by Albrecht Durer. Someone will pay approximately $50 million for that piece. I can't fathom that kind of money. Yet, here is an amazing truth.
Jesus left heaven's riches for us, 2 Corinthians 8:9, and the Bible declares that He purchased our redemption not with silver or gold but through His death and resurrection. What the Savior paid was immeasurably greater than a mere $50 million. Why? Because each one of us is valuable to Him. Not because of the good we have or can do or anything we have to offer Him, Romans 5:6-11. We are valuable because God chose to set His love upon each of us, John 3:16.
With this in mind, wouldn't it be sad if someone didn't know how precious he is to God?
Wouldn't it be tragic if someone thought he was like a worthless copy of someone else?
Even as I type these words, I think of the vastness of the world. There are so many who don't yet know that they are loved by God. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the vastness of the need.
Yet, with God's help, let's keep praying and planting truth. May the Lord give us the honor of letting someone know, even this week, that he is valuable to God and why that is true. Maybe someone will say. "Who knew that I was so valuable?"