“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6:20
It was a beautiful day at the Oregon Coast and our family made a stop at the Lincoln City Goodwill, which has become a tradition, mainly reinforced by the affordable treasures we find every time we go.
This day was no exception. I can’t remember exactly what day it was, or even the month, but one particular event of that day remains pretty memorable for me.
As with all other previous trips to Goodwill, we always started in the book section. Shane would then peel off to one side of the store, both boys in tow, to see the electronics, followed by the reward of toys and games. I went the other way toward housewares with the baby in the cart. Typically, when I arrive in the dish and glassware aisle, I look for two specific things. The first is Home & Garden Party (now Celebrating Home) dinner plates that look similar to Fiestaware, because I have broken a couple and like the dishes so much, I want to replace them. (Still no luck in finding them, to date.) The second is look at the teacups. I am not a tea drinker, but I have a nice collection anyway. Some are from my Momma, some from my MaMaw (my Dad’s mom), while others just caught my eye at some point and were reasonably priced.
Just prior to this trip, and I mean just prior…like maybe a day or two…I told Shane I had enough teacups and to remind me of this when I found another. I even went so far as to say, “Don’t let me get anymore!”
Yet, there I was, looking at the teacups. No big deal. Then one particular cup caught my eye. I wasn’t particularly fond of its print. It was a weird art-deco shape, where frills and scallops are more my style. In fact, had I gone by design alone, I would have let it lie. But it had a unique, translucent quality. Of course, I couldn’t just look. I had to (GASP!) pick a couple of them up. Dangerously closer to that commitment of buying.
Then, I did what I ALWAYS do. I looked at who the maker was.
It was a Shelley. A Shelley! Now, for those of you who collect teacups, you know that this is a rare find for Goodwill. They seem to be in every space at an antique mall. For $80.00. But Goodwill? Not a chance.
I still couldn’t believe what I was holding, so I did the next test. One thing about Shelley cups, in particular, that I love is that when you hold it up to the light, you can see through it. It’s delicate. Its design never overpowers the glow that shines through it. Yup. Sure enough. The signature glow was undeniable.
I could hardly believe my eyes. $7.00? Pretty sure I actually looked at the baby and said, “WE’LL TAKE IT!” I excitedly marched over to the toy aisle and showed Shane what we were getting. Now, mind you, he knows about Shelley teacups. I’ve talked about them before. It’s one of the few names that I care about and that he would recognize. I’ve always wanted to own a Shelley. But I have never bought one. Why? Because they are so stinkin’ expensive! Yes, they’re pretty. But I’m not that hardcore. My Mama has one that I can eventually have, and that was good enough for me.
But here was this golden opportunity!
So when he said, “But you said not to let you get anymore teacups. Better put it back,” I’m pretty sure my response was, “You’re kidding. Right? PLEASE TELL ME YOU’RE KIDDING!”
At first I thought he was kidding. But he really wasn’t. He took his earlier assignment from me rather seriously. It was almost like he was executing a directive from a “clear-minded” me prior to “going senile” me.
“I know what you’re saying now, but I also know what you said then, and trust me, you’ll thank me later.”
NOOOOOOOOO! No. I. Won’t.
I felt like I was in a nightmare. I kept it in the cart and followed him as I talked. I reasoned with him. Yeah, $7.00 would take that much more away from treats during the day, but it was a Shelley teacup. For $7.00. I’d sacrifice my Starbucks.
He finally relented because I was getting a little crazy. And he admits he was having a lot of fun with all of it, because he, too, knew what a find it was.
I was excited for the whole rest of the day.
When we brought it home, Shane sat down and started researching, which he loves to do, and discovered all kinds of info about Shelley and this particular teacup. We were able to narrow down a range of years it was likely made it (between 1925-1945), the style (Queene Anne). After much digging, he came to the conclusion that as closely as he could tell, it was a $93.00 Shelley teacup. For $7.00.
The Lord taught me a very valuable lesson that day. Based on the design alone, I would have passed right by that teacup. What made the difference was the maker. In fact, it made all the difference!
My persistence in wanting that silly cup showed me something, too. Jesus knows Who our Maker is. And He pursues us diligently. He calls after our hearts drawing us to Himself. And it doesn’t matter what design we have on our outside. It doesn’t matter what value someone else places on us. Believe me, the value others place on us will always be low in comparison to how much value our Heavenly Father places on us.
Before I came back to the Lord in 2003, I was much like that hidden $7.00 tea cup on the Goodwill shelf. I had once held a place of honor in His kingdom. I had been saved since I was four years old.
But oh, how the cares of this life can creep in.
By the time I was in college, I was very religious, but no longer had a relationship with the Lord. Not really. I married a boy I met in church and figured that we were both right with God, but I knew in my heart that we weren’t just by the choices we were making.
We tried to get pregnant right away because I was having health issues related to conceiving. By the time I was 21, I had lost at least two pregnancies and blamed God for my unhappiness. I was extremely discontent about the design my Maker had placed on my life. No matter what I did, I couldn’t fill that emptiness I felt.
I tried. Boy, I tried.
We bought a house and no matter how much time and money we spent on that house, I was never satisfied. I remember one night in particular. Shane was working swing shift and I was home alone in our beautiful, picture perfect, empty house. I was pacing the hallway asking God when He was going to snatch it all away from me. I was sure He would punish me for my foolishness. We hadn’t even prayed before we bought that house.
But then, JESUS. Jesus passed by.
He called after my wandering heart that night. He reminded me that He saw me and He recognized me. He knew Who my Maker was and knew my worth. And He had already bought me with a price. He paid much more than the world, or even I, thought I was worth. Finally, He gently reminded me that if I allow Him to hold me up to the Light, others can see that Light through me.
Very shortly after that crisis moment with Jesus in my hallway, He saved me. He sanctified me. And He filled me with His precious Holy Spirit. Now, by His grace alone, I can be meet for the Master’s use. Unlike myself, who rarely uses my tea cups, He often uses me, for which I am humbly grateful.
We are all like Shelley tea cups.
When I encounter others throughout my day, am I looking at their design alone? Or am I remembering that they have a very special Maker? Am I passing them by? Or do I tell them they have value and a purpose?
Jesus, help me to tell others how valuable and special they are to You. Let me tell them of the price You paid for them. And make me ever mindful that because they are to valuable to You, they matter to me, too.
Blessings and much love,