In 2011 my family and I were fortunate enough to go on a cruise for our family vacation. There was one day during our trip that I will forever remember, Cozumel Mexico. The views were stunning and the atmosphere was awesome. People were excited to go out on this adventure and experience this beautiful place. However, these are not the things that impacted me the most on this trip. The one thing that will be forever engraved in my mind on this trip was a $10 bill.
Let me tell you a little about that $10 bill. I received it as change from a $100 bill I had spent earlier in the day. I gave no thought to it and paid no special attention to it. To me it was just a normal $10 U.S. bill.
Later in the day my family and I stopped in a local store to purchase something to drink and a few snacks. We set our drinks and snacks on the countertop. The clerk totaled up the cost and I reached into my pocket to pull out that $10 bill. I handed it to the clerk and she immediately handed it back to me in a sort of worked up tone. She said, “this money is no good” and “pay me with a different one.” I looked at the $10 bill and I didn’t see anything wrong with it. To me there was nothing that took away its value, so I asked, “what’s wrong with it?”
The clerk pointed to the center of the bill and said “this mark.” I was shocked and surprised at her reaction but was even more surprised at what her problem with this $10 bill was. In the center of the bill there was a small burn hole about the size of a dime. It went all the way through and was a little charred around the edges but the bill was still intact. To me it was nothing, after all I had spent U.S. bills that had been taped back together, missing one corner, and damaged much more than this bill had been.
I paid her with a different bill and we went on our way enjoying our day, but I couldn’t stop thinking about that $10 bill.
That afternoon at the shops around the port I decided to do an experiment. I thought to myself, “I’m going to try to buy something from these shops using this $10 bill.” Shop after shop, I received the same response. Each time they would say that the bill was no good because of this burn mark. To them it was damaged and had no value, but to me, I knew I could take it back to the U.S. where it was created and it would still have value, so I put it back in my pocket and took it home with me.
That evening, as I’m sitting on the balcony of the cruise ship looking out over the land as we’re leaving port, The Lord began to speak to me concerning that $10 bill.
He began to show me how the people around us many times are just like that $10 bill. They’ve been burned and scarred along the way by people and experiences in life. Some have fought through drug addiction and have burn marks to show. Some have fought through mental illness, some pornography, some divorce or even financial ruins – the list could go on and on. Now, in the aftermath of it, people look on them and see the burn marks.
As a result, some treat them as if their value is gone, that they’re now so damaged they cannot be used. They have been discarded, devalued, and cast away like they are worthless.
As this began to be revealed to me, I couldn’t help but get tears in my eyes as I thought about all the broken, damaged, and burnt people that need to hear that they still have value.
If you’re reading this article today and you’ve been broken, burned, and scarred from life experiences and mistakes, keep reading. If you have been treated like an outcast, like the things you have done have permanently taken away your value, hear these words, “It’s all a lie!”
People may not be able to see your value but it’s not always about what the people see. Just like that $10 bill, it’s value could not be seen in a foreign land. I had to take it back to the place it was created to find it’s value again. You may be trying to get your value from a foreign place, from a person who didn’t create you and can’t see your heart. The one who created the heavens and the earth, the one who created man and breathed life into him, the one who knew you from your mother’s womb is saying to you right now that there is no scar, no burn mark too big to disqualify you from His love, His mercy and His grace. If you can find your way to Jesus, find your way to the creator, you will find your value.
I conclude with this, if you are one of those people who love to point out the flaws and mistakes of others, read this message from Jesus in Matthew 7:5, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (NASB1995)
The writer is a local pastor.