Imagine this: a small venue show with one of the world’s most celebrated violinists. He’s playing Bach’s “Chaconne,” considered one of the most difficult violin pieces to master on a Stradivarius violin worth around $3.5 million.
At any other time, an opportunity like this would cost quite a bit of money. And yet, on this day, the “classical music superstar” made less than $33. Why? Joshua Bell had donned street clothes, and was performing in a Washington, DC subway station. More than 1,000 people passed by, but only seven stuck around to listen for at least a minute.
It’s all about perception. Bell explains: “When you play for ticket-holders, you are already validated. I have no sense that I need to be accepted. I’m already accepted. Here, there was this thought: What if they don’t like me? What if they resent my presence?”
If we do not know the source of our worth, our value changes with the situation. By contrast, God gives us treasure in jars of clay—his light shining in us (2 Corinthians 4:7). He calls us his child (John 1:12), his friend (John 15:15), justified and redeemed (Romans 3:24), accepted by Christ (Romans 15:7), and forgiven (Ephesians 1:7). Who are we to believe otherwise?
I recently had the privilege of learning about Village of Hope, an orphanage in Uganda that cares for children affected by the militant Lord’s Resistance Army, some of them former child soldiers who were kidnapped and forced to fight. The orphanage is also home to girls who, through horrific circumstances, became mothers while still children themselves.
Because of their situation, the child mothers were outcasts- no longer welcome in their homes or villages. They hated themselves and were reminded of the atrocities they had endured each time they looked at their children.
One day, a group of short term missionaries came from the US to visit the orphanage and minister to the child mothers. They spoke of God’s love and told the girls that God loves each of them and has a plan for their lives. Then one evening, they presented each girl with a small box, telling them that it contained God’s most precious treasure. Each girl opened her box to find her own face, reflected in a mirror.
Seeing themselves clearly as precious children of God changed everything– from the way they saw themselves to the way they treated their children. Today, these girls’ lives are being restored at The Village of Hope’s Tabitha Hope Center, where they are learning a trade so they can sustain themselves and care for their children.
Everything changes when we see ourselves as who and whose we really are.