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Sale of the Centuries
Photo: Cathy Smith
I was quietly poking around in an old Victorian home/antique shop many years ago, when the shop’s owner began a conversation with me. As we talked, she became comfortable enough to share a story of an incident that had changed her life only months before.

It seems that she had attended a refurbishing tag sale at a local museum on a Sunday afternoon, and had found the antique of a lifetime. Although the tag sale had been running for three days, she discovered an old painting in a bronze, gesso covered frame and was immediately drawn to it. The price tag read $125 and after gazing at it, she wrote a check out to the museum and loaded it into her car.

Missing Painting

Like all good antique dealers, when she arrived at home she began to do some research about the old, beautifully painted canvas. What she found took her breath away! After an entire evening of “burning the midnight oil” and checking source after source of information, she came to the conclusion that she had found something very special. Her painting was appraised by some national experts, and it was confirmed that she had discovered a painting that had been missing from the family of a famous author.

When the media dust settled and more research was done, it was discovered that the painting had been given to the museum by the author himself many years before. It had sat untouched and undisturbed in an old carriage house. The museum had sold it to help raise money for some much needed structural work. The dealer who purchased it for the sum of $125, later sold the old painting for millions at a large auction house in New York City.

“All of you…were once held hostage in a sinful society. Then a huge sum was paid out for your ransom” (I Corinthians 7:23).

As I looked at the pictures of the painting and read the press clippings, I found myself taking a deep breath. I lived within 10 miles of that museum! Years later, I reflect on the spiritual lesson taught so powerfully that day in the antique shop. Each one of us is an incredibly valuable work of Divine artisanship, and yet many often negotiate a cheap price for themselves in the tag sale of temporary pleasures.

The question is not whether we are “selling out,” but to whom are we selling out to? Will it be to the evil buyer who finds little or no value, or to the Divine Investor who has already paid everything to purchase us? The choice is ours.

By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the THE MESSAGE / REMIX®.

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