Things bought at garage sales don’t usually end up on the evening news, but a Chinese bowl bought by a New York family in 2007, became famous in April of 2013. The new owners paid just three dollars for what turned out to be a bowl from the Northern Song Dynasty that was more than one thousand years old. Until someone told them what they really had, the family had the bowl stuck on the mantle over their fireplace. When they placed the bowl with Sotheby’s Auction House for sale, it was estimated to go for approximately $200,000. Instead a dealer from London purchased it for more than $2,000,000!
Why would the first owners sell something so valuable for just $3? The answer is that they didn’t appreciate what it was worth. We may shake our heads at that, but the truth is that every day men and women give up things far more valuable than money could buy for something that is ultimately worthless.
When a woman sacrifices her integrity to steal from her employer to be able to buy something she wants or a man sacrifices his purity to commit immorality to satisfy his lust, something of great worth is being given up for something very cheap. This is a clear indication of misplaced values. When parents ignore their children’s need to further a career (or even a ministry), they are giving up something that cannot be regained for the sake of something that will not last.