Ephesians 2:4-5 - But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.
It was 1932, the years of the Great Depression. One woman, in desperation, tried to make ends meet by cleaning houses.
To her amazement, one of her customers kept throwing away stuff that seemed perfectly usable. One day a Chinese flower vase ended up in the trash, and the cleaning lady asked if she might take it home. With permission, she did so and put it in the kitchen where it was used to display her flowers. It stayed there for 20 years. It would have stayed there forever if a friend hadn't talked her into showing the vase to an appraiser, who worked in the Buffalo Museum of Fine Arts.
He told our lady, "If it's a fake, it's a valuable 200-year-old fake. If it's real, it's 2,000 years old and worth a fortune." Then, as an afterthought, he asked, "But what's all this discoloration in the bottom?"
He about fainted when the lady offered, "It's from the cut flowers I put in it. It's my flower vase." The common had become uncommon. The worthless had been proved valuable. Trash had become a treasure.
Making trash into treasure, that's what the Lord does.
Two thousand years ago, when Jesus was going about doing the Father's business of saving us, the world considered Him to be not much better than trash. The Gospels record how the Redeemer was called a liar, a Samaritan, a devil, a partygoer, a false prophet, an insurrectionist, and a blasphemer. The establishment thought the best thing they could do with Jesus was have Him executed and put Him out of the way ... permanently. In the eyes of the world, Jesus was not much better than trash. Indeed, His death by crucifixion, a death reserved for slaves and society's worst criminals, showed how poorly the world thought of Him.
Through His resurrection on the third day, Jesus, a glorified Jesus, showed to all the world that He had done what no mere man could do: He had conquered death. True Man and true God, Jesus had offered His life as our ransom, and His resurrection continues to show that His work has been accepted.
When Adam and Eve first sinned, they went from being perfect to being flawed, from being sinless to being sinful. If the Lord had looked upon humanity with the cool eye of an appraiser, He might have said we were fit only for the junk pile. But the Lord in His grace continued to look upon His lost children with love. Right then and there He made a promise: I will send My Son to rescue and redeem you.
Through faith in the Redeemer, the Lord turns us who were lost and beyond repair into His treasure-sons and daughters of the King of kings.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, without the Savior's sacrifice, I would be lost, but with Jesus' triumph over sin, death, and Satan, I am forgiven of my sin, freed from Satan's bondage, and shall live with Him in paradise. Thank You! In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From "Of Great Value," a message from Rev. Kenneth Klaus, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. How highly do you value your treasured personal possessions? How do you care for them?
2. Why did it take God's grace to "fix" our situation?
3. Have you ever discovered a hidden value in something you thought was commonplace or mundane?
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