It was one of my geekier moments. I had seen a flier at the local library for a free antiques appraisal, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to bring in some jewelry and art I’d received from my grandparents. I rolled out of bed early on a Saturday morning, packed my treasures into reusable bags, and drove to the library.
After arriving, I sat down and started people-watching while I waited for my number to be called. I saw all types of interesting items: an antique wooden rocking horse, an enormous Asian art scroll, and a commemorative plate of American presidents. Some of the items were pretty, some were interesting, and some were downright ugly.
The most surprising part of the whole experience was listening to the values assigned by the appraisers. Some of the items that looked beautiful in my estimation were worth relatively little, and some were worth nothing at all. On the other hand, some items that looked like garage sale rejects were valued as worth thousands of dollars.
The valuations seemed so unexpected, so counterintuitive. In that moment, I realized that my observations pointed to a more significant reality: how we tend to see and judge our lives may be quite different from how the Lord will see and judge our lives one day. Scripture clearly teaches that believers will be judged, though not for our right to stand in God’s presence and dwell with Him (for Christ has accomplished that on our behalf). However, our works will be tested, and rewards will be given based on God’s appraisal system. And this appraisal system may be quite different from our human appraisal system.
Young moms: do your days of dirty diapers and laundry seem less valuable than a fruitful workplace career or church ministry? Pastors: does your faithful preaching to a small congregation seem less valuable than being a well-known pastor writing books and speaking at conferences? Employees: does your diligence in your boring job seem less valuable than a fulfilling career that impacts the world in concrete and tangible ways? Sick ones: does your confinement in your home or hospital bed seem less valuable than a life of busy activity? Believers: does your present circumstance tempt you to feel as though you’re having very little impact for God’s kingdom, and is a grand departure from the script you would have written?
Jesus Christ is the Ultimate Appraiser. He alone will define what is of great value and what is relatively worthless. And simple acts of faith and obedience done in relative obscurity may rank far above what seem to be grandiose acts done before a stage of observers. So take heart, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. And you just may be surprised one day at the true value God places on your perseverance in the seemingly small things.