It was an old porcelain Chinese vase the family held onto for more than 80 years. This week, it sold for $38 million. The family never knew it was so valuable

How do people determine value? I like to watch “Antiques Roadshow,” a program that features all sorts of items. People bring them in, and an antiques expert evaluates each piece. On one show, a man displayed a desk he bought at a garage sale for $5 and used as a television stand. The expert told him it had belonged to Paul Revere and was worth at least a quarter of a million dollars.

The other day, my good friend Mark Combs described the way he taught his son about value in a very understandable way. Mark says we determine something’s value by three factors: its rarity or uniqueness; its ownership; and how much someone is willing to pay for it.

The man with the garage sale desk didn’t know it was rare. He didn’t know who had once owned it or that anyone would pay so much money for it. His understanding of the desk’s value changed once he understood each of those factors and how it related to the desk.

At this time of year, we remember the three gifts the wise men brought to Jesus. I’d like to suggest three gifts you can give your children to teach them about their value. First, give them an understanding of their uniqueness. God didn’t stamp out the human race with a divine cookie cutter. Instead, He shaped each person individually.

Travel across time and you’ll never find another person quite like me. (My wife says that’s a good thing.) In the same way, the Great Designer did not throw your child together in haste, but made one unique, irreplaceable individual. The psalmist understood this when he confessed, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).

Second, give your children an understanding of their ownership or belonging. Not long ago, I spoke about this topic and noticed two guitars near me on the stage. I asked the owner of the first guitar how much it was worth. He said, “$1,200.”

I pointed out the second guitar, identical in appearance to the first, and announced a new discovery. This was Elvis Presley’s guitar, the last one he bought and played before his death. I turned to the congregation and asked, “How much is this guitar worth?” Someone yelled back, “Everything I have!” The guitar’s ownership determined its value. And the value of a child of God is . . . immeasurable.

The third way you can help your children comprehend their value is by explaining how much someone would be willing to pay for them. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). To redeem us, God paid the ultimate price.

How do you speak these three truths into your children? Touch them gently, look into their eyes and use a soft tone as though you were addressing a baby. Say, “The words I am about to share are not my own. They were written in the Holy Scriptures long before you were born. Today, I’m agreeing with what God has already said. You, ______ (name), are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are a Designer original; there is no one like you.

“ ______, God also says you belong to Him. You are a child of the King. You have royalty flowing through your veins and have been invited to sit at His banquet table. In John 17:23, Jesus tells us God sent Him to tell you He loves you as much as He does His Son Jesus. If Jesus is God’s favorite child, what does that make you? Yes, you, ______, are my Father’s favorite child.

“Before the foundation of the world, God determined your value. He sent His only Son to pay the price for you by living a perfect life, dying on a cross and rising from a grave. He says, ‘You matter to me.’ ______, you have value because of your rarity, your ownership and the price someone was willing to pay for you.”

We still remember the three gifts given long ago to one special Child. The three gifts that help your children understand their worth and value will have an impact much greater than anything bought in a store. And that, my friends, is . . . priceless.

Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827)