The individual who dropped it off at the Richmond, Virginia Goodwill didn’t recognize its value. The employee who positioned it on the shelf alongside the usual thrift store items didn't realize what they were handling. The cashier who priced it at $3.99 no doubt failed to notice it was a museum-worthy antique. Even Jessica Vincent, the woman who purchased the rare vase that day, didn’t recognize that it was a treasure. She just thought it would be a nice addition to her home.
After some research online and a visit from two Italian glass experts, Jessica discovered that she was the owner of a prized piece by Carlo Scarpa, a top Italian glass designer from the 20th century. This thrift store find was worth over $100,000!
Can you imagine the care she took of the vase once she found out how much it was worth? I can picture her wrestling with whether to leave it on the shelf for all to see or to pack it away to make sure nothing happened to it. Once you learn something has great value you begin to treat it differently.
I remember my first Bible. It was given to me by a member of the Gideons when I was a student at Jones Road Elementary in Grenada, Mississippi. The little brown Bible contained the New Testament and Psalms. I was thankful for it, but it was far from a treasure to me. It was nothing more than a keepsake that I tucked away somewhere. Surprisingly, I still have it after all these years.
Fast forward about 10 years. I became a Christian, a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. As you might guess, with my newfound faith came a genuine appreciation for the Bible. God’s Word suddenly had value to me. With the Spirit’s help, I started to better understand the wonders of the Bible and the way God expected me to respond to them. God taught me that the Bible is not a book to place on a shelf, but is something to take in my hands to treasure.
English pastor Charles Spurgeon was known to many as the “Prince of Preachers.” He had no doubt learned the value of the Bible and wanted to impress that onto the minds and hearts of others. Here are some soul-stirring excerpts from a sermon Spurgeon preached about the Bible one Sunday evening in 1885:
“This volume is the writing of the living God; each letter was penned with an Almighty finger; each word in it dropped from the everlasting lips; each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit.
“[It] is God's voice, not man's; the words are God's words, the words of the Eternal, the Invisible, the Almighty, the Jehovah of this earth.
“This Bible is God's Bible, and when I see it, I seem to hear a voice springing up from it, saying, ‘I am the book of God; man, read me. I am God's writing; open my leaf, for I was penned by God; read it, for he is my author, and you will see him visible and manifest everywhere.’ I have written to him the great things of my law (Hosea 8:12)."
Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) was a missionary to India and the author of several books including Thou Givest… They Gather. In the book, she explained what she had come to recognize about the Bible:
“The amazing thing is that everyone who reads the Bible has the same joyful thing to say about it. In every land, in every language, it is the same tale: where that Book is read, not with the eyes only, but with the mind and heart, the life is changed. Sorrowful people are comforted, sinful people are transformed, peoples who were in the dark walk in the light. Is it not wonderful to think that this Book, which is such a mighty power if it gets a chance to work in an honest heart, is in our hands today?”
When Jessica discovered the value of her vase, she had a decision to make. What would she do with it? As Christians, we too have a similar decision to make when it comes to the Bible. And it’s not a one-time decision, is it? It’s a decision to be made daily.
We look at this treasure we know as the Bible, and we ask ourselves what we should do with it. Will we take time to read it and meditate on the marvelous redemption story there, or will we leave it on the shelf?
There are so many things that tend to pull us away from spending time in the Bible. Our families need our attention. We need an income, so we go to work every day. If you’re a young person, there is schoolwork to do and extracurricular activities. Not to mention the fact that we all get tired, and we need to rest.
If you’re struggling with finding time to read the Bible, I encourage you to take that struggle to the Lord. Surely, He understands your struggles and will help you.
I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure (Psalm 119:162, NKJV).
(Jessica’s vase story appeared in numerous places online including this Associated Press article.)