What’s it Worth?

The Covington News - - Religion - Jonathan Scharf Colum­nist Jonathan Scharf is pas­tor of Abid­ing Grace Lutheran Church in Cov­ing­ton. Full ser­mons and more in­for­ma­tion can be found at www. abid­ing­

If you re­mem­ber the story of the wise men from Matthew 2, you prob­a­bly re­mem­ber that they did some­thing that might strike you as a lit­tle odd. They brought stu­pen­dously valu­able gifts to a baby, gold and in­cense and myrrh. And these three kings, these pow­er­ful, in­flu­en­tial, im­por­tant men, bowed to a child.

Why? That child didn’t ap­pear to have any power or wis­dom or value. In fact, in those days, you couldn’t put much stock in a baby at all since so many of them didn’t even make it to adult­hood. But the light of the truth had dawned in the hearts of those magi and they saw what hu­man eyes could never see. Their eyes of faith saw the value of their Savior. That baby came to die for their sins and to win them and us an eter­nal home. That baby was worth far more than the gifts they brought him.

And here’s the beau­ti­ful thing: You see it too. You see the light. And when that light breaks our dark­ness, it fills our heart. God shows us what it’s all worth.

It’s re­ally an in­ter­est­ing study when you start eval­u­at­ing what things are worth. The same base­ball may go for $ 8 in new con­di­tion and then sud­denly some­one will pay hun­dreds of thou­sands for it once it has been used in a game or writ­ten on by some­one fa­mous. How do you fig­ure out what some­thing’s worth?

Take a tear for ex­am­ple. What is that worth? How much do you think I’d get for one of mine on Ebay? Prob­a­bly noth­ing, right? But do you think I’d ever even think of giv­ing up the tear I shed when I watched my kids con­fess their faith so beau­ti­fully at our Chil­dren’s Christ­mas Ser­vice last month? Was that worth­less? The feel­ing that over­whelmed me and leaked out my eye of know­ing that they knew their Savior and that they will be in heaven for­ever with him, and they are even telling oth­ers about that right at the very moment that tear was shed, know­ing all the mil­lions of mir­a­cles that it took to make that hap­pen… Is that tear worth­less?

Or how about the one that trick­led down my face when we said good­bye to my wife’s dad af­ter his bat­tle with can­cer was done? That tear that sprung from the sad­ness to see him go mixed with the joy at his vic­tory and the re­lease of his pain and the con­fi­dence that he is cel­e­brat­ing with his Savior right now… is that worth­less? No. In fact, I’d say it is com­pletely the op­po­site of worth­less. And if you’ve ever shed a tear of faith — you know the value. It’s price­less.

That light of the Gospel is just that price­less. Do you re­mem­ber how brightly it shined the first time you saw it in your dark­ness? Maybe it’s been shin­ing for you as long as you can re­mem­ber, or maybe it’s been more re­cent, but do you re­mem­ber when you first saw the dif­fer­ence be­tween the dark­ness and light?

I know it is way too easy to for­get the thrill, to for­get the value, to take this light for granted, but God just keeps show­ing us his love. And when he shows us his love, whether it is the un­be­liever who sees for­give­ness for the first time, or the one who has called them­self a Chris­tian for decades who fi­nally un­der­stands that our re­la­tion­ship with God is based not on our obe­di­ence, but on his grace, that light shines. The beauty of it brings a tear to the eye, one of the price­less kind.

Once we re­al­ize the worth of the mes­sage of our Savior, those gifts of the wise men make a whole lot more sense, don’t they? Let’s fol­low their ex­am­ple and bring our ab­so­lute best to our Savior this year.

He’s worth it.

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