When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my cousin came to stay with my grandparents for a few weeks one summer. My grandparents live next door to my parents, so we hung out every day. At some point during those few weeks, he got me hooked on baseball cards, and I’ve been collecting ever since. I have tens of thousands of baseball cards, basketball cards, football cards, even a few soccer cards. But no hockey cards. No one likes hockey.
I’ve actually gone through my whole collection a few times and checked the value of each card. Online price guides have made it a lot easier in recent years than when I used to have to page through a book for days on end to figure it all out.
I have some valuable cards. A have a small box full of cards with pieces of game-worn jerseys, pieces of flooring from basketball courts, pieces of a game-used football or basketball, autographs, etc.
I’ve got some older ones. This one, a 1961 Fleer Jerry West, is one of my favorites:
One time I was in a shopping mall in Virginia that was having a card show. I bought a couple packs just for the heck of it, and in one of them, I got a Kobe Bryant autographed, game-worn jersey card. The dealer that I bought the pack from instantly offered me $500 for the card that I just pulled out of a $4 pack. I passed. Probably stupid, but I’m a sucker for nostalgia, and I’m a pack rat when it comes to that stuff anyway, so I figured if it’s worth $500 now, then it will be worth even more later.
But a few minutes later I started to regret that decision. What if it’s value doesn’t go up? In fact, what if it goes down? In the sports card market, values are often affected by things like “off-the-field” scandals or legal problems, or declining performance as a player’s career winds down. What if, in a few years, I go to sell that card and it’s only worth $300? $100? $10? That would be a serious letdown.
The thing is, those cards are only worth what someone is willing to pay. And they’re only willing to pay whatever cost they value the card to be at. For me, I only want to pay for stuff I want. Stuff that I see value in. To borrow a line from Mel Brooks, “Hockey cards? I don’t want no stinking hockey cards!” I paraphrased… Anyway, it doesn’t matter to me if someone else values or wants something. The decision to pay a price for it is only determined by the value that I see in it.
People are the same. So many people struggle with feelings of depression or loneliness or hopelessness because they feel worthless. For some reason, they don’t feel valued by people. If you’re looking to people to find your value or worth, the market is going to fluctuate constantly. Some days you’ll feel extremely valuable, and some days you’ll feel like yesterday’s garbage, kicked to the curb.
But like beauty, value is in the eye of the beholder. God created you and gave you value and worth. It has nothing to do with me or anyone else and what anyone might think of you, how they might perceive you. It has only to do with the fact that you are created and loved by God and HE thinks you’re worth a lot.
Your worth is found in your identity in Christ.
I’m not always very good at not caring what people think of me. I find myself weighing my value based on people’s opinions of me in different ways. But something I’m learning a little at a time is that all that really matters is that God loves me and my value is calculated on His scale, not mine or anyone else’s.
Guys, your worth has nothing to do with your job, your house, your car, your status, your bank account, your “smokin’ hot wife,” how many sports your kid plays, or your golf handicap.
Ladies, your worth has nothing to do with your family, your kids, your home, your friends, or the love or affection of any man, whether it’s your father, your husband, your boyfriend, etc.
John 3:16 is probably the most well-known Bible verse. Verse 17 is really good too. You probably know these verses. If you don’t, they say:
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17 NLT)
That verse says plainly that God loves you, enough that He equated the value of your soul to the life of His Son. If that doesn’t make you valuable, I don’t know what does.
Like I said, I’m not really great at brushing off people’s opinions sometimes, but I’m working on it. I hope you’ll find a way to see yourself the way God sees you and know that your value isn’t in what others think or feel about you, but in how God feels about you. And He likes you a lot.