Wanda Vassallo shares this story with us:
“A gem dealer was strolling the aisles at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show when he noticed a blue-violet stone the size and shape of a potato. He looked it over, then as calmly as possible, asked the vendor, “You want $15 for this?” The seller, realizing the rock wasn’t as pretty as others in the bin, lowered the price to $10.
The stone has since been certified as a 1,905-carat natural star sapphire, about 800 carats larger than the largest stone of its kind. It was appraised at $2.28 million.”
It took a lover of stones to recognize the sapphire’s worth. It takes a lover of souls to recognize the true value of ordinary-looking people like us.
Indeed, it is God, the Lover of Souls, who recognizes the true value of all of us here on earth, and He has recognized it throughout the course of time; after all, He created us in His image. He sees our worth through all of our flaws, and He realizes our value in spite of our many shortcomings. It was out of His love for us that He put a plan in motion for all of us to be saved and redeemed. It is God’s earnest desire to bring all of His children together to show His love for us. God has created us all in His image, and He has filled us all with His spirit, all to His glory. We heard God’s voice speaking after Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.” In the same manner, when we were baptized into the family of God, it was the words of Isaiah 43: 1, 3-5 that God said to us as His Spirit descended upon us: But now, says the Lord… Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are mine….
I am the Lord your God, the holy one of Israel, your savior….
Because you are precious in my eyes, you are honored, and I love you.
I give people in your place, and nations in exchange for your life.
I am with you.
God dearly loves His Son, Jesus, and He dearly loves each and every one of us who love Him, glorify Him and accept Him as our Heavenly Father.
When we were baptized, we each became a child of God, and we were immersed in God’s grace, mercy, peace, and above all else, love. We heard the words of God saying to us, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine, and I love you.” God, the Lover of Souls, the Lover of our souls and the One who recognizes what each of us are worth, has made our worth known to us and to everyone surrounding us, and He reminds us of that worth and refreshes it every single morning. Therefore, each and every day we need to remember our baptism and be thankful. On this day especially, we are to remember what set all of this in motion. Today, let us remember Jesus’ baptism and be thankful for all it has brought to us. Thanks be to God, our loving Father, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Lee Stowe serves as the Pastor of the the Memorial United Methodist Church at 7358 Route 28 in Shandaken, which celebrated its 170th. anniversary last year. For more information call 845.688.3051.
Courtesy of Hynes Funeral Home, Margaretville and Miller Funeral Home, Roxbury