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I recently read an article by Jill Carattini where she told this story: “A nurse named Melanie was on her way to work when something in the trash bin caught her eye. She was immediately taken with the possibilities in the discarded treasure. It was a cello, slightly cracked in several places, but nonetheless a discard of character, a piece charming to the eye. Her boyfriend, who is a cabinetmaker, also saw the cello’s potential. Together they thought it could be turned into a beautifully distinctive CD holder. The discarded cello was indeed old and it had been abandoned, though authorities are not sure why or how it ended up in the trash that day. But a most shocking revelation to the nurse (and arguably to the thief as well) was the fact that it was not merely an old cello. It is one of only 60 like it in the world made by master craftsman Antonio Stradivari in 1684. The 320-year-old masterpiece, valued at 3.5 million dollars, was stolen from a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra just weeks before it sat rescued in Melanie’s apartment with dreams of becoming a CD holder. In the music world ‘Stradivarius’ is an untouchable description. Neither scientist nor musician understand the difference between the ‘voice’ of a Stradivarius versus the voice of modern violins and cellos, but the distinction is real — and costly. They are the most sought after musical instruments in the world, works of art in their own right, coveted by collectors and players alike. To be in the presence of a Stradivarius is to be in the presence of something great — whether it is recognized or not.”

The thief put it on the trash pile, and even Melanie did not see the splendor of what she was holding. That is the way your life is. It has enormous value. The spiritual thief and enemy of your soul wants to dump you on a trash pile. Perhaps you don’t see your value either, but your life is especially precious to the One who made you. His kingdom is described in Scripture as a “treasure hidden in a field,” and he is described as a “merchant looking for fine pearls” (Matthew 13:44-45). God is a treasure hunter and you are God’s treasure. You have a glory. You have a role to play. Play that role with abandoned joy.

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