>Television Values

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Matilija Poppy. May, 2011.

What’s it Worth?

How much is your stuff worth? Lots of television programs address that question.

On Antiques Roadshow, hopeful folks drag their treasures to an auditorium, where experts determine the value of that old painting, vase, or childhood toy. Each episode features one item that’s appraised for some wondrous sum of money; usually at least one other item is determined to be near valueless, despite the hopeful owner’s visions of wealth.

On Pawn Stars, the play is more complex: People bring Uncle Harry’s rifle or grandma’s old chamber pot down to the pawn shop, hoping to leave with a wad of cash. The pawn shop staff, though, needs to pay a price that leaves room for profit when the item is resold. The conflict pits the seller’s desire for money against the staff’s negotiating skills.

American Pickers works the other way around: the show’s stars persuade people to let them rummage through the old barn or basement, seeking collectibles. Then they negotiate a price for the found treasures, hoping to buy at a point that will allow them to mark the items up for resale.  

Cash in the Attic takes a more cooperative approach. Mark and Sally decide they need, oh, say $3,000 for the family trip to DisneyWorld. An auction expert comes to their home and together they choose items to sell at auction, hoping to raise the needed sum. Tension develops as homeowners realize that they need to part with things they love if they want that picture of little Joey with Mickey.
The casual observer, or visitor from outer space, could easily conclude that we obsess over the value of our stuff and depend on other people to set that value. And I suppose when we’re talking about rusty old Radio Flyer wagons or sooty oil paintings, that’s okay.
But what are you worth? What am I worth? And where do we turn for an expert appraisal of ourselves? I’ve looked for the answer in all kinds of places over the course of my life. Report cards. Words of praise from my parents, or later, my spouse. Performance evaluations. A stranger’s admiring glance.
These days I’m less likely to wander down that worrisome path. I think of my bible as the Kelly Blue Book of human life. There, I learn that despite my flaws, my shortcomings, my failures–my humanity, the God of the universe, my Creator, counts me as treasure. He values me (and you!) so greatly that He ransomed us at an impossibly high price.
18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
1 Peter 1:18-19 (NLT)

Today I link with Laura Boggess at The Wellspring for her Playdates with God project. Please visit there!