By Mark Callaghan

Value’s in the eye of the beholder

There's an old saying that one man's trash is another man's treasure. What was once an eccentric fad has become fashionable. It was a sad day when you came back empty-handed from a run to the tip. Well do I remember my feelings of outrage when scavenging was outlawed. Now Council tips have shops which sell our junk back to us.

My wife and I are recyclers – seeing hidden value in other peoples' rejects and collecting, restoring and repurposing them. My wife has a very keen eye for a bargain, a skill inherited from her father, an avid hunter-gatherer in his day.


On a recent tip trip my wife spotted an old cast aluminium tea pot – perhaps fifty cents of scrap metal. We duly paid a dollar for it, but online research revealed it was worth over $60! Not only that, but another similar, larger specimen was added to the collection shortly after, cheap at twice the price, and worth much more.

Some years ago a recently retrenched artist friend started an on-line art brokerage. He spotted a sculpture for sale and paid the $1500 asking price, considering that it could be worth ten times that amount. He was unable to attend the auction, but imagine his surprise when it fetched over $80,000! That made a big hole in his mortgage.

Another recent obsession has been the rise of home renovation programs. Long before these shows, we caught renovator's disease – at least I think it's a disease. Recently we purchased an uninhabitable weather-board cottage and commenced a front gate to back fence renovation. Three years hard work and we had uncovered the original charm of a century-old dwelling and brought it into the twenty first century. But another project even older has now taken its place. We see the hidden beauty and value in old houses.

Value, like beauty, lies in the eye of the beholder. The clue is to recognise the potential within, and then to make the investment needed to bring it to full potential.

Christians understand humankind to have been created in the image of their Creator, but disobedience led to disease, disasters and death – the inevitability which follows us all. St Paul writes, "If a person is in Christ, they become a new person altogether; the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. All this is God's doing ..."

God sees the potential in every one of us, and His renovation offer is Jesus. Any person can be transformed to be fit for purpose, truly valued and fully loved. Faith takes advantage of this opportunity.

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