I bought it for 50p and it’s priceless

Apple I computerHave you heard about the woman in the US who gave away the contents of her garage to a recycling company, including a rare Apple 1 computer which is worth $200,000? The company sold it, and now (bless them) is trying to find the woman so they can give her half of the proceeds. (You can read about it and other such stories on the BBC website).

One of the reasons why I think people like watching TV programmes like ‘Antiques Roadshow’ (aside from the schadenfreude of those who think they have a priceless heirloom only to discover it is worthless) is for those moments when someone has a vase or a picture that they bought at a car boot sale or a jumble sale for 50p and it turns out to be worth thousands of pounds. I think we like that because we think ‘that could be me’. And if you visit a car boot sale or a jumble sale, don’t you also secretly hope that you might make such a find?

But while the antiques experts commend and congratulate the person who bought the object for a bargain price they don’t ever seem to give a thought for the person who sold what they thought was worthless because they didn’t realise its value. How do you think that person might be feeling if they are watching the show and see their ‘piece of junk’ valued so highly?

When we think of the people we know (or even ourselves) sometimes they can think of themselves as worthless, a piece of junk. Nobody would want them. But when God looks at us he sees our true value. He sees us all as priceless, worth everything.

Jesus told a couple of parables about how the Kingdom of Heaven (or Kingdom of God) is like someone who finds something incredibly valuable and sells all they have to buy it (recorded in Matthew 13):

44 ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

I have usually thought of those parables where I am meant to be the person who should give everything I have to buy the pearl or the field containing treasure – where the pearl or treasure represents being a part of God’s Kingdom – it’s worth everything.

But what if it’s the other way around? What if you and I are the pearl and the treasure and God’s the one who will give everything in order to buy us?

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him might not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

or, to personalise it

God loved you so much that he gave his one and only Son that if you believe in him you won’t perish but have eternal life.

So how do you think of yourself now? What about those around you? Not worthless, but priceless!

Be blessed, be a blessing

sentiments

image

Isn’t it interesting how we attach significance to objects? When there is a story attached to them the objects seem to gain a greater significance than they would ordinarily merit – we call it sentimental value.

This mug is a case in point. It was given to me by a good friend. That would make it significant but there is a bigger story behind it (forgive me if you have heard it).

When I was training at Bible College my friend, Steve, and I were chatting about how God had called us to be training as Ministers. I used the following sentence: “It was while David Coffey was my Minister that I felt God’s call to be irresistible.”

Steve knew what I really meant, but he was also sufficiently mischievous to deliberately misunderstand and told a number of our colleagues of how I had been called to be
irresistible. The mocking was good-natured and (if I am honest) I rather liked the epithet!
Later on (I think for a Christmas present) Steve gave me this mug along with a pair of socks that have the same picture and words.

So now this mug is important to me because of who gave it to me, because it makes me smile when I remember the silliness behind it and because I cherish the period in my life that is represented by this mug. (I do have another mug which relates to the same incident that was given to me by my erstwhile colleague, Lynsey, before we became colleagues, but that’s going to remain ‘off tinternet’ – you will have to ask her about it!).

I wonder what objects hold sentimental value to you that far outweighs the actual worth: a family ‘heirloom’? some letters or cards sent by someone you love? photographs?

The wonderful thing is that God has placed immense sentimental value on us. We may feel worthless, morally bankrupt, spiritually impoverished or simply tarnished and ugly but when God looks at us he considers us to be beyond price: worth everything.

Jesus told a parable about a man who found some treasure in a field and went out and sold everything he had in order to buy the field and possess the treasure. I have always thought of it as being about how we should consider being his friends to be worth everything. But what if the man is God and we are the treasure hidden in the field – worth giving everything for!

The Christian symbol (the cross) is more than a badge: it’s a price tag too. Perhaps we should all wear one.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

priceless

cufflinksThese cufflinks were a wedding anniversary gift to me from my wonderful wife, Sally: 25 years!!!

You may be able to see that they are made from the internal workings of vintage watches. The watches no longer tick, but you can see cogs, wheels and other tiny gubbins (a technical term).

I think they are great. I like them because they have some history to them even though they have only just started their new life as cufflinks.

I like them because I think they look rather unusual.

I like them because they remind me of the time I have spent in my life married to Sally (over half my life now!).

But most of all I like them because of who gave them to me. It is that which gives them value. To me they are priceless because they are a gift from Sally.

It’s interesting how we humans do that: we invest objects with ‘sentimental value’ that far exceeds the actual value of those objects. I wonder if you watch ‘Antiques Roadshow’ with the same sense of schadenfreude as the rest of us? A person brings in something that has been passed down through the generations and which they clearly hold very dear, and it is valued at far less than they thought. There is a stoical look on their face as they try to mask the disappointment and then we hear, “Well I would never sell it anyway as it means too much to me.” If it was worth hundreds of thousands of pounds would they feel the same way?

Yesterday’s bloggage was about how we are children of God – we don’t just have a new name we actually have a new identity when we choose to become followers of Jesus.

Do you ever feel inadequate? Do you ever feel a failure? Do you ever feel that you are not good enough for God? Do you ever feel worthless?

Do you think God sees you the same way? It all began with him creating you – designing you from scratch – and him loving you unconditionally. And just as my cufflinks have been given a new lease of life (rather than being a broken old watch) we receive a new life, a new identity. When God looks at you, because you were bought for him by Jesus (to use a Bible metaphor that tries to explain what happened when he died on the cross), he sees you as priceless.

Be blessed, be a blessing