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What Determines Something’s Worth?

The internet is filled with wonders and horrors.


Yeah, I stay away from the horrors, although it’s hard not to run across the trainwrecks that are so many celebrities’ lives. Especially in the gossip press. But then again, don’t many of those celebrities want their life’s debris splattered across the internet because it gives them publicity and, like the social media influencers (and influencer-wannabes), they find their worth in fame, even if it’s notorious?


But it’s still a horror show.


On the other hand, one of the wonders that popped up on my search engine was a ridiculously fascinating article, “10 Worthless Items Sold for an Insane Amount of Money,” by David Long (


I’m not surprised when magnificent works of art like DaVinci’s Mona Lisa ($860 million), Auguste Renior’s Bal du moulin de la Galette ($170 million),  and Van Gogh’s Starry Night ($100 million) and Sunflowers ($40 million) sell for atmospherically high prices—appalled, yes, surprised, no. Their worth stems from the work’s instant recognition, the artist’s unique style, and competitive demand that jack up the painting’s value at auction. (,


What drives a person to pay such an eye-watering price for art or anything else?


It all depends on what the object is worth to them. So be it if someone is willing to shell out thousands for a napkin with Margaret Thatcher’s lip prints ($2,200). It’s their money. (


But things get super silly when someone is willing to pay scads of dineros for what I would think is worthless. Well, worthless to me. Obviously, not to them.


I found an interesting article while surfing the web. It’s called 10 Worthless Items Sold for an Insane Amount of Money. Here are some ridiculous prices people have paid for things that many of us might find worthless, except for the first one.


The Pink Star. To be fair, this is one classy diamond. It weighs 59.6 carats, about .5 ounces, and Pink Star was recently sold at auction for $71.2 million! However, it just looks like glass to me, plebian that I am. I’d rather have the $71.2 sitting in the bank if you know what I mean. Crazy, right? But to the willing buyer, it was worth what they were willing to pay for it at the time. Pink Star is worthless to me because 1) it’s ridiculously out of my price range, and 2) I can find pretty glass all over the place. Yes, I make a lousy investor.


Rhein II by Andreas Gursky. His photograph is of the Rhine River near Dusseldorf, Germany. Granted, it’s a cool photo. The horizontal lines dominate the picture, with textures and alternating green, grey, and blue lines adding interest to the piece. I’d love to have it on my wall. Very serene, you know? But get this. Someone paid $4.3 million for it. Uh, excuse me. Not the photograph – a copy of the photograph! For real. I’m not joking. I could buy the same type of photo on a $1 postcard, as the story points out, or I could find the picture for free with a Google image search. Absurd, you say? But to the willing buyer, it was worth what they were willing to pay for it at the time.


Finally, A Sacred Grilled Cheese. Yes, we see this kind of thing occasionally. Someone cuts a board, and the grain reveals a picture resembling an ostrich’s face. (Yes, I’ve seen it.) Or someone sees an image of Jesus’ face on a fence created by water spray from an irrigation nozzle. But the Sacred Grilled Cheese takes the cake, or should I say, sandwich.


“In 1994, Florida resident Diane Duyser made herself a grilled cheese. Then, she says, ‘I went to take a bite out of it, and then I saw this lady looking back at me.’ Duyser and her husband quickly determined that the lady on the grilled cheese was, in fact, the Virgin Mary (because it couldn’t possibly be anyone else, author). In 2004, Duyser auctioned off the chosen cheddar on eBay. The hallowed Havarti went for $28,000.” (




SMH. (Shaking My Head, for the uninitiated.)


My son just called to talk about a football game he recently attended. He complained about vendors charging $11 for a cheap American lager that would have cost $3-4 at a bar or about $1 per can at a liquor store. Did he buy it? Sure did. He was thirsty and craved a beer, even though drinking an American lager is on par with swilling a glass of water. But he was willing to pay the price because it was worth it to him at the time, although he still whined about it.


A thing’s worth is what the buyer is willing to pay for it at the time.


So, what are you worth?


To the world? Not much. Only for what it can get from you.


To your Heavenly Father? Only His Son’s life.


As the old but biblically accurate saying goes, “Even if you were the only person on earth, Jesus would have died for you.” You are worth so much to your Heavenly Father that He gave you the costliest thing He could. There is no higher price in the universe or the spiritual realm than His Son’s life.


The Father gave His Son for you. (John 3:14-17)


Jesus gave His life for you. (Matthew 20:28)


The Holy Spirit gives you life. (John 6:63; Romans 8:10)


Can you say the price was extreme? Extravagant? Dear?”


Why did the Father do that? Because you’re worth it to Him, He was willing to pay the price for you. The price paid sets your value and determines what you’re worth.


You’re not some glassy rock or copy of an original or a silly sandwich. You are your Father’s child and worth every drop of His Son’s life.


No matter where you find yourself in life – beginning, middle, or end, or what you’ve accomplished or haven’t, or morally wrong or right things you’ve done – your Father loves you so much that He is willing to pay the highest price possible to get you back into His family and for you not be separated from Him forever.


How valuable was Jesus’ life? It not only purchases you entirely but pays the price for every other person who comes back to our Father through Jesus. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6, italics author)


You’re as valuable to your Heavenly Father as His Son is to Him.


So, meditate on this today. Mull it over. You are worth what Someone was willing to pay for you at the time and for all time. “For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)


And God never whined about it.

Shining the Light of God’s Truth on the Road Ahead


Pastor Jay Christianson

The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts


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