RITE OF PASSAGE: Antiques Roadshow
Every once in a while, I watch a program on our local public education channel called “Antiques Roadshow.” This show features a group of appraisers who criss-cross America. When they come to your town, you bring in your junk and they tell you its value. Of course, every episode has its twists and turns. One person discovers that his valuable, pre-Civil War antique was made in China and sold at last year’s state fair. Another brings in an object that cost a quarter at his next-door neighbor’s garage sale, only to learn that it is worth thousands.
During one show, a man in a pair of overalls stood behind a simple table. Now, I want you to know that I have nothing against overalls. When I was growing up in rural America, everyone wore them, and I still own a pair. When the appraiser asked, “Where did you buy this table?” the man in the overalls replied roughly, “Garage sale.”
“And what about this table caught your eye?” asked the appraiser. “It was the same size as my television. I had been looking for a table to hold it. This one has done the job for the last 10 years.”
The appraiser wore a shocked expression. “Do you know what kind of table this is?” he asked. The man in the overalls replied, “Yes. It is a television table.”
Quietly, the appraiser began explaining that this was a one-of-kind piece, dating back to the time of Paul Revere. The man in the overalls didn’t look too impressed. Next, the appraiser told him that in fact, this looked like a table that Paul Revere himself had made. Turning it over, the appraiser showed the man some markings and other aspects of construction. The more the appraiser talked, the more excited he got. The man in overalls just listened.
Like an evangelist letting go with the best part of his sermon, the appraiser finally exploded. “In all my years of studying antiques, I have never seen a table like this. I have called other appraisers to verify, and we concur. You have the only known Paul Revere table in existence! What do you think of that?”
The man in the overalls looked up just long enough to say, “It fits my television.”
The appraiser continued, “If I sold this at an antique auction, I would start the bidding at $150,000-and there’s no telling how high it would go. Now, what are you going to do?”
The man in the overalls looked up from his table just long enough to say, “I am talking it back home so I can sit my TV on it.” He wasn’t persuaded by the table’s value or history. It held his television perfectly. That was all that mattered.
I can’t fault the man in the overalls. I think that we, too, forget the value of those in our lives. We see them for what they can do for us, instead of who they are. That is where I have sometimes failed in my relationship with my wife, my children and my friends. Too often, I see my wife as the one who takes care of the kids, cleans the house, does the laundry and cooks the meals. People often say to me, “You have a wonderful wife,” and I answer, “Yes, I know. She takes care of the kids, cleans the house, does the laundry and cooks the meals.” In some ways, I am just like the man in the overalls. All I notice is what she can do for me.
I have asked the Lord to help me see people-especially my family-differently. They are creations of the Master Designer Himself! When He sat in the planning room of eternity past, he put special care into those who would become my wife and my two sons. With great deliberation, he created them as unique individuals. He gave them his stamp of approval, pronouncing them “wonderfully made.” Being the Appraiser of All Appraisers, He has already declared the value of each soul He ever created. In His estimation, we are all . . . priceless.
When God looks at my wife, He doesn’t see her as the one who takes care of the kids, cleans the house, does the laundry and cooks the meals. He sees her as His favorite child-one whose value is . . . priceless.
Most of us have another problem. Even if we can see and understand God has made others valuable, we think of ourselves as the state fair trinket. Isn’t about time you agreed with the Master Appraiser? Lining your values up with His allows you to see yourself and others as . . . priceless. And that, my friend, is a roadshow worth broadcasting.