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How a charity-shop find taught me about who I am

I LOVE charity shops. I love a good bargain and I love getting a great deal on something that’s worth a lot more. My family and I have a really silly little game that we sometimes play in charity shops to look for the strangest item that we can find in the shop. Whoever gets the strangest thing will win. Furry bathroom scales; a mini golf set that you can play on the loo. There are so many odd things you can find! One of my personal favourites was a porcelain statue of some mouldy lettuce with some bugs on.

Someone really took the time to design that. To create it. To fire it in a kiln. I tried to Google it to try and find a picture to show you and even the internet can’t imagine something that obscure. To all extents and purposes, it was something quite useless.

As I was thinking about what to share today on the topic of value, I thought of that lettuce. Sometimes in my life, I’ve felt like that lettuce statue. Like I was that thing on the shelf that no one in their right mind would choose. Who would want that?  I’ve felt like maybe I was just designed badly, like maybe God didn’t have great taste while he was creating me. 

Most of us are used to finding our worth in what other people think about us.

This was definitely true for me:

I was only worthy if I was beautiful enough. If I looked more like Jennifer Lawrence, then I’d be worth more. I was only worthy if I was clever enough, but as my older sister was cleverer than me, then I didn’t measure up there either.

Most people will have their equivalent:

Maybe you only feel worth something if you’re able to be funny.

Or maybe it’s if you earn a lot of money, only then do you feel like you’re worth something.

Maybe it’s relationships, maybe you only feel as though your worth something if somebody wants to date you.

Maybe you feel like you’re only worthy if you can contribute something, if you feel like you can ‘do enough’ to earn your place in the world.

All of us have our own versions of this. The problem with this is that when we find our worth in others’ opinions of us, of what we can do, is that it’s so fragile. When the people don’t laugh at my jokes, or the money doesn’t come through, or someone breaks up with me, it all comes crashing down.

The amazing thing about God, is that he says that we are valuable. Not because of anything we can contribute, not because we’re beautiful enough or clever enough or rich enough or even if we’re “good” enough. He says we’re valuable because he created us, he’s an artist who looks at you as his best masterpiece. He is a God who carries your picture in his wallet, who puts your drawings in pride of place on his fridge.

But how do we know?

We know because of the cross. We know we’re valuable to God because when we couldn’t achieve what was necessary ourselves, He came to earth to bring us back to himself.

The value of something is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it.

No one wanted to pay for that lettuce statue, so it wasn’t worth much.

God wanted you so much, wanted so much to be with you, for you to have eternal life and freedom with him, that he paid the highest price imaginable. He paid with his own life. This is the God that created the whole universe, he made Mars and Saturn and the Grand Canyon and the Amazon rainforest and Ben Nevis and Brighton beach and the Indian ocean. That God who holds all of time and space and everything, paid with his own life for you.

This is what the cross says to us. It is solid proof that you matter, that you’re valuable. No matter what the world says about you; even if everyone in the whole world rejected you, left you on the shelf like the ugly lettuce statue, the death of Jesus on the cross is the declaration to all of humanity that you are valuable.