Do You Know How Much This is Worth?Found in: Destiny in Bloom
Annie’s turn signal clicked loudly as she guided her car into the parking spot where a half-lit neon pawnshop sign towered overhead. “I need to get that blinker fixed,” she thought as she wandered through the front door that was sticky to the touch and smelled of year-old french fries. She looked around a bit before approaching the man in the overalls behind the counter. Books. Old broken appliances. Costume jewelry fifteen years out of date. Everywhere Annie looked were heaps of cheap junk. She finally approached the man who, by this time, had lit up a pipe and was reading a dirty magazine.
“Uh, excuse me, sir.” She stammered, awkwardly jingling her keys as she pulled a brown bag out of her pocket. His ears perked up at the sound of the word “Sir”—a word he undoubtedly had not heard in some time. “Do you know how much this is worth?” Annie asked. His eyes lit up with a lustful glow as he peered at her exquisite rare gem twinkling marvelously beneath the fluorescent lights.
“Where did you get this?” he asked.
“It was given to me by my father,” she said proudly. His eyes lowered. “Let me take this off your hands. I’ll give you seventy-five bucks for it.” She was not certain just how valuable it was, but she knew it was far above that offer. With a sigh, she put the gem back into her sack and left the shop, wondering if the man had any clue what he had just seen.
Later, Annie thumbed through a phone book. Discovering a number of jewelry stores not five miles from her old apartment, she immediately set out to ask the same question. Upon entering one store, Annie was relieved when she saw beautiful necklaces with ornate stones and precious metals. She was barely able to decipher the tiny print beside these delightful earrings when she mouthed the words, “Cubic zirc—wait, that’s fake?!”
Immediately, a handsome salesman greeted her with his million-dollar smile, perfectly slicked hair and charming demeanor, which made her both at ease and on alert. Now peering around with the most doubtful eyes, Annie wondered what around her was real and what was a counterfeit. She pulled out her brown sack and laid the precious gem on the clean, well-lit glass, asking the same question, “Do you know how much this is worth?”
His flashy smile broadened in a way that made her feel icky on the inside. “Oh, yes. Of course. This is quite rare indeed. I’m prepared to make you a great offer on this that no one could possibly match—I guarantee it.” He winked as he wrote out a check for a hefty sum, but something inside her said he was not to be trusted. I mean, this store was full of beautiful things, yet so many were fake—how could she know if he was being honest in his estimate of its value?
“Well, how about you hold onto that check for now, “she said, “And I’ll think on it more and come back if I decide to accept your offer.” With a shudder, she hurried out of there more quickly than she had left the last place.
This was exhausting! How could she ever find out how much her precious gem was worth if all she encountered were filthy junk-hoarders with no concept of value and sleazy salesmen who knew the value but weren’t willing to pay a high price when they were already satisfied with a counterfeit? Feeling a little defeated, she went for a leisurely stroll in the park nearby, resting on a bench for a moment. Suddenly, an elderly man, distinguished and proper, sat beside her, toting a newspaper and a wooden cane.
“Hello ma’am,” he said. “You don’t know me, but I’ve been looking for you for a long time.” His frail frame and warm smile calmed her anxious nerves immediately. They chatted about the weather and his grandchildren; they laughed at dogs chasing each other in the park. Annie soon discovered he was an expert of precious stones and collector of the rarest gems in the world. He began to share stories of the days of old when he worked in diamond mines and devoted his life to the art of discovery.
“Precious gems don’t immediately come out looking like this,” he said, as he unwrapped her gem from the bag. He held it up to the sun, looking through it with a magnifying glass and carefully studying each angle. “You know, Annie,” he said, “they can only sparkle like this after they’ve been dug out of rock, polished,and tediously cut to allow light to shine through every angle of the stone.”
She leaned over to try to see it from his perspective, and she asked him, “Do you know how much this is worth?” He smiled and said, “Annie, something this precious is worth everything.”
I believe there is an Annie in all of us. We have all at one time (or like me, many times) sought for someone or something to determine the value of what we have to offer. Perhaps you too have encountered the pawnshop owner—one who doesn’t have a clue just how precious you are. His concept of value was completely substandard to the quality of what you carry with you. He surrounded himself with meaningless things.Maybe you’ve had a similar experience with someone like the sleazy, polished salesman who, while keenly aware of the value, was satisfied with the counterfeit. He preferred the appearance of something valuable without having to pay the high price for it. And he could convince others to buy something counterfeit, too.
The female heart is not to be bargained with or discounted; it’s not to be short-sold. It is something so precious, so beautiful and unique.
“Precious gems don’t come out of the ground looking this.” Girlfriend, the glorious diamond solitaire that is you went through quite a few things to look so good. I honestly do not love this part of the process: the purification, the perfecting within us. Sometimes it’s painful when God chips away. He polishes; oh, and He makes those tiny little cuts into the precious stone of the heart so that from every angle, the light can shine through brilliantly, and we can start reflecting more and more of His image.
Do you know how much you are worth? You are worth so much to God “that He gave His Son for you” (John 3:16) so that you can “take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you.” (Ephesians 4:22-24) Don’t second-guess your value; remember that something so precious as your heart is worth everything to Him.
God, thank you for seeing the value of this precious gem beneath the rocky surface, and by your loving-kindness, chiseling away at my rough spots, my imperfections, and reproducing your character within me so that I may better reflect Your light, Your glory. Help me to see the value within myself in the way You see me. Amen.
(Originally Published in www.destinyinbloom.com.)