Value of a Thing

Value of a Thing

I read a story about a man who inherited a blanket. After his grandmother died and his family members finished “pillaging” her house, he went to sift through what remained. Among her possessions was a dingy blanket no one wanted. He recalled his grandmother had used it for a birthing bed when one of the cats had kittens.

He took it home and stowed it in the closet. The blanket was mostly forgotten until the night he was watching Antiques Roadshow. Someone presented a bonafide Navajo blanket that appraised at half a million dollars.

After a few failed attempts and negative feedback from skeptics, the man found an expert who identified his old cat blanket as one of the “finest and rarest” Navajo blankets in the world. The textile brought in 1.5 million at auction (which enabled the man to drop off his diet of ramen and vodka).

Here’s the thing, if Grandma had realized the origin and true value of that blanket, she never would have lent it to the cat. More likely it would have been in a bulletproof glass case with sensors and security guards.

The point is we handle things according to the value we assign them. This is true of possessions but even more so of people. If we have no concept of the value of another person, we are more likely to use, abuse or ignore them. But if we understand Jesus deemed ever human worth dying for, it will change how we treat each other. The level of his sacrifice demonstrates the level of our worth. We need to value each other the way God does.

Fighting a Flood

Fighting a Flood

I was once asked by my boss to help fix a commercial toilet. The head maintenance guy was offsite so they patched him in remotely. The instructions were coming to me second-hand. He told me to turn a large hex bolt attached to the water supply (there were actually two bolts which turned out to be important).

At the first turn, water began to drip. I was told this was normal. By the next turn, water was spraying out, like a thumb over a garden hose. Still normal. One final turn and the bolt shot from the wall, releasing an icy water cannon that blasted me in the chest.

As I stumbled out of the way I observed the water pressure was strong enough to span the full length of the bathroom.

The water level quickly began to rise around my feet. The others fled and I was left to fight the flood on my own. I splashed around until I found the rouge bolt and struggled to force it back in place. The cold spray beat against my face. I dropped it several times, once in the toilet. The water flowed freely until another staff person reached the water main and cut off the supply.

It is a massive understatement to say my efforts were futile. But in the moment it felt legitimate. When placed in a situation that is quickly spiraling, the natural reaction is to try to regain control.

But what if we stopped striving. I’m not saying do nothing. Don’t stand there and let the water bore a hole in your chest. But rather than self-reliance, what if we sought help. Acknowledge the beast is bigger than us and go to find the one who knows how to beat it. 

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