What Is Really Valuable?

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

One of the most difficult things in life is determining the value of any item.  When you go into a store, price tags indicate how much a certain item is worth.  Sometimes a store’s price tags get mixed up.  In life sometimes the price tags on values get mixed up.

How much is something worth?  Recently an antique photograph collector went into a flea market in Fresno, California and purchased a photograph for two dollars.  When he looked at it more closely he discovered that it was a rare picture of the legendary Billy the Kid.  The photo has been called “the Holy Grail of Western Americana,” and it is currently valued at $5 million.  A $5 million item was purchased for two dollars!

David Gonzales bought a dilapidated house in the town of Elbow Lake, Minnesota for $10,000.  He was going to fix it up.  As he was removing some of the newspapers used to insulate a wall, he found an old comic book tucked in with those newspapers.  He looked at it and thought it might be worth something.

He was amazed to discover that it was one of the rarest comic books of all time – the 1938 Action Comics #1 that introduced the world to Superman.  The comic book will be auctioned for about $200,000.  How much was that $10,000 house really worth?

In January 2014, 26-year old Ken Hoang was visiting Chicago and using his cell phone to take photographs of the icy Chicago River when he dropped his cell phone on the ice.  When he tried to retrieve the cell phone, he fell into the water.  Lauren Li, one of his friends, then dropped down to help him, but she slipped into the river.  They began to yell for help and another friend came and stepped on the ice and fell into the water.

Ken Hoang was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.  Lauren Li was missing for a couple of days before her body was pulled from the water.  The third friend was found alive, hospitalized, and released.

Cell phones are important.  People get attached to cell phones, but are you willing to swap your life to try to retrieve a cell phone?  Are you willing to follow a friend into icy water to help them retrieve what they think is valuable?

Jesus was always encountering people who were asking questions about life.  One day some people confronted Him and asked Him about the values of life.  Jesus said, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Every day we are exchanging precious time for something we consider to be valuable.  The question is – is it worth $2 or $5 million?  Is it a $200,000 treasure or just a $10,000 dilapidated house?  Are we so attached to some things that we swap our lives for something that is not worth giving a second thought?

There were some missionaries who had to be evacuated from a country recently.  They had to flee for their lives.  They were not allowed to take any of their possessions.  All they could do was get out themselves.  When they were interviewed and asked how tough it was to leave all their possessions behind them, they commented, “We carry our possessions in our mind and heart, not our hands.”

What is really valuable?  What are you spending your life for?  Check out Jesus’ answer in Mark 8:34-35.

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