I’m a channel surfer. I can waste an hour in front of the television, riding one station to another . . . and then to another, never watching a program for more than fifteen seconds.
But when I landed on the Antique show just as the appraiser quoted three thousand dollars for a porcelain plate, my jaw dropped. I turned up the volume to make sure I’d heard correctly.
The woman who owned the plate seemed just as surprised. She told the appraiser she had purchased it at a thrift store for fifty cents. She almost passed it by for another dish lying among knickknacks on the nearby table. But something about that particular plate caught her eye, and she placed it in her shopping
As the two went on about her plate, I shook my head and wondered how many hundreds of other shoppers wandered through that store and snubbed their nose at what turned out to be a treasure. How many handled it, turned it upside down, ran their hands across its surface – and then set it aside?
And what about the previous owners? Had the dish been used in the family for many years, or had it become just a part of the clutter on some shelf in the attic? What would they think if they learned the hand-me-down they sold for pennies was worth so much?
In my walk with Jesus over these many years, I’ve shared my faith with hundreds of people. Friends, coworkers, neighbors, and strangers alike often smiled as I spoke – and then moved on. Some had grown up in the church. They remembered fondly their first communion and later confirmation. They attended Mass each week and could quote Scripture from memory. But like a discarded porcelain plate, the attractiveness of the Lord and a personal relationship with Him had become so routine, so shrouded in ritual, He became little more than clutter they traded for trinkets.
I suppose people have always turned aside from the familiar in favor of the new. In the seventh century B.C., the Jewish prophet Isaiah proclaimed it would be only a remnant who would believe that the One who “was despised and forsaken” would become the pearl of great price (Isaiah 53; Matthew 13:45-46), the One to whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess as Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).
And today, as Christ stands among other philosophies and theologies, many still pass Him by. A few stop to investigate, to examine His words, commandments, passions, and warnings.
But only a remnant takes Him home.
Yet, those who do . . . Oh! Those who do, discover a treasure of incomparable worth, a gift more precious than life itself. They find themselves living in the presence of the eternal King of Glory.