What Possessions You Value Most
A visit to Worth Avenue
Last weekend my wife and I visited the shops along Worth Avenue In West Palm Beach. We were strolling along window shopping when we came upon an antique store, where we stopped. What caught my attention was a beautiful old lamp in the window. Turns out is was an antique Tiffany lamp that was worth over $400,000. Now that’s a high value for a light fixture. Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Imagine how much more valuable the light of the world is if an old Tiffany lamp is worth over $400,000.
The record breaking ‘Salvator Mundi’
Of course Jesus was no ordinary person, even if he was betrayed for only 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15). And West Palm Beach has more than it’s share of wealthy individuals who could afford a $400,000 lamp. You may have seen this recently when one Palm Beach resident sold his painting of Jesus attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci for $450,000,000. It was a record-setting bid for a piece of art. Wow! How valuable is the Son of God if his mere image sold for almost half a billion dollars?
While I realize most of us don’t have to worry about whether we should buy that $400,000 lamp or a $450 million dollar painting, we all deal with managing our own households and what things of value we own.
My wife and I experienced taking inventory of what we value firsthand in September thanks to hurricane Irma. We watched as hurricane Irma formed and eventually developed into one of the largest storms in history. As it got closer to Florida, the local weather forecast had it hitting West Palm Beach head on. My wife joined thousands of others and evacuated the area for her safety. Due to my job, for me evacuation was not an option. In cases of natural disaster, hospital services become even more necessary to help the injured. So rather than evacuating, enough employees and doctors to take care of the patients report to the facility prior to the event, while the roads are still passable. We hunker down and wait for the storm to arrive. All told we housed approximately 1,600 people before and during this particular storm.
In the Path of the Storm
When I left our condo that Saturday morning to report in it was surreal. Irma had become a category 5 storm and was projected to make landfall very near our home within the next twenty-four hours. As I stood in the doorway ready to leave and looked around, I had the realization that almost everything we owned was probably going to be destroyed the following day. Both my wife and I had taken a few of our possessions that were important to us, but the vast majority of everything we owned had to stay right where it was, in the path of the storm. It would almost be a week before I was able to get back to our condo to see what damage had been done. Fortunately for us, we only experienced a category one hurricane in West Palm Beach. Although our building had quite a bit of flooding and wind damage, our unit did not.
What Really Matters to You
That was a valuable experience to walk through. I encourage everyone reading this to mentally go through it for yourself. During this Christmas season, hit the pause button for a moment and ask yourself, “What really matters to me?” Stand in the doorway to your home and look around taking inventory of your life and possessions. If you lost it all tomorrow would it matter? What possessions do you own that are of value to you? Seeing my wife take our marriage license along with her said, “I love you!” more powerfully than a thousand words.
Nothing but Shadows
Interestingly the Bible describes this world as passing away (Revelation 21:1). Everything around us is nothing more than a shadow. At the end of the day everything material in this world is passing away. Take a moment to think about that and see everything you own as a shadow. Can you possess it? Do you really own it? Can it truly hold value in the end? Can you lock it away in a vault and bring it back out on a rainy day? When the shadows begin to melt away in the light of day, can you stop the clock? Personally I’ve concluded that you can’t. Not with certainty.
The Possession You Value Most
So in the end what do we have that really matters? Jesus asked, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Your most valuable possession is your soul. It’s immortal. It will last for all eternity. It has more value than a $450,000 lamp or a $450 million dollar painting. They pale in comparison, mere shadows compared to your value in the eyes of God. No matter where you come from, your family lineage, or your socioeconomic background, we are all equal and of equal value to God. God is bigger than your current situation or circumstances, no matter how deep you’ve dug a hole for yourself. I love the saying you’ve never fallen further than His grace can reach.
Are You Chasing Shadows?
I read an article about a local woman that paid $3.70 for $1,800 worth of electronics after she changed the prices on the items and went through the self-checkout. She explained to the police she could not afford the electronics but felt her family deserved nice gifts. She was charged with felony grand theft and shoplifting. I’m not judging her mind you. But I can’t help but wonder if she was placing more value on shadows than she should have been and if this action could actually impact her family in ways she hasn’t considered? What about those around you? Are you placing the same value on the souls of your loved one’s as God does? Is the life you’re living pointing your family towards God or away from Him? Does your life reflect a life committed to God and the things of eternity or are you chasing the shadows?