Kingdom Value

by Todd Ghermann, Founder and Ministry Director

– This parable is attributed to the philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard.

One night, a group of thieves broke into a jewelry store. But rather than stealing anything, they simply switched all the price tags. The next day no one could tell what was valuable and what was cheap. The expensive jewels had suddenly become cheap, and the costume jewelry, which had been virtually worthless before, was suddenly of great value. Customers who thought they were purchasing valuable gems were getting fakes. Those who couldn’t afford the higher priced items were leaving the store with treasures.

I will be the first to share my inadequacy of being able to decipher expensive jewelry from costume or more inexpensive jewelry. So if someone were to actually switch the prices in a jewelry store on me I would actually have no idea, which ones had greater value. Yet, this begs the question, how does one accurately give worth or value to material goods?

I will never forget the time I was about 12 years old and my friend from school invited me to come along on a weekend trip to his Dad’s chiropractic business convention. The convention was held at a very grand hotel, definitely grander than I had ever been to at the mere age of 12. I remember being in awe of the elevators that were made of glass, and watching all the people become smaller and smaller the higher we went up. This hotel had a large swimming pool, arcade, restaurants and the works as far as hotels go. I thought if you were able to stay at this hotel you were really somebody important.

Like most teens (or in my case soon to be teen) I cared a great deal about popularity and what image I portrayed to others. I remember that wearing the right styles of clothes made a statement about who I was. At that time period, around 1984, (yes, I know, I know, a very long time ago, right?) everyone who was anyone wore a Lacoste shirt (you know the shirt with the alligator on it). Lacoste was definitely the rage at that time and anyone who wanted to be popular had to have one. The only problem was that these shirts came with a hefty price tag. While I would never call my family poor even by United States standards, I would say that both of my parents worked very hard for what little they did have while I was growing up. So buying Lacoste shirts were not in the budget; however due to my begging for this Lacoste shirt my mother decided she would sew an alligator from an old smaller one she had found and sewed it onto an affordable generic brand named shirt to make me happy.

I remember my friends family all saying how much they loved my shirt, especially the softness of the material. I must say that I was feeling pretty good about myself and my new imitation Lacoste shirt, that is, until that Saturday evening when we were all gathered to eat dinner with my friends family and some of his Dad’s younger co-workers. Once again someone (this time, a young co-worker of my friend’s Dad) noticed that they liked the softness of the material my Lacoste shirt. He liked it so much that he asked me where I had purchased it and I told him simply that my mom picked it up for me. He then proceeded to quickly feel the fabric of my shirt and then just as quickly his hand suddenly lifted the back of my collar where he lovingly decided to read the label out loud … Gimbals! I was outed! I was so embarrassed and pretty much didn’t say much the rest of the meal. Here I was with all these wealthy people busted for not wearing the right labels. However, while I was embarrassed back then, I’m quite glad for the experience today.   

It’s strange how everyone loved the imitation Lacoste shirt until they found out that the label didn’t say Lacoste on the back of the shirt.  Thinking back on that very embarrassing moment I realized that I placed greater value on a shirt only because it had the popular logo, not so much because I actually loved the shirt at all. Rather I loved what the shirt represented and could possibly do for me.

Matthew 6:19-21 NIV

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This blog should come with a warning label. DO NOT JUDGE OTHERS based on what they choose to wear, drive or live in! This blog is not about what one owns, but rather begs the question for each of us to examine our motives for what we deem as valuable and why. Jesus calls us to store up our treasures in heaven because at the end of the day when our time comes to an end, and it will come, we can’t take any of this stuff with us. Next time when you make a purchase regardless of what it’s for, think about it’s Kingdom value and think about the things that Christ values most and make your decisions based on that.

Next Step Ministries