You know that golden opportunity you’ve been waiting for? You may be looking in the wrong place. I believe it’s in the last place you might ever look. It’s inside of you. You, my friend, are worth more than gold.
For many years I assumed because there didn’t seem to be anything worthwhile about the outside of me, there must not be anything worth much on the inside either.
I knew God had given me gifts, but the layers of muck and mire I had piled on my physical body made me feel I no longer had anything worthy to contribute to well, anyone.
Truth Can Be Found Anywhere.
I’d heard all the sermons about self worth, so God used what seemed to me a very unChristian story to teach me a truth: I am worth more than gold because He created me to shine.
When I first heard the story of the golden buddha I felt like a Sweet Grace reader who emailed me recently.. “As a believer in Christ, I was saddened at your inclusion of a tale about a golden buddha.”
To tell the truth, when the story was first told during a seminar I was attending, I thought, “Why would this Christian man tell this story? He taught my adult Sunday School for heaven’s sake.” I was so focused on my negative reaction I almost missed a pivotal truth God wanted to teach me. The truth had nothing to do with Buddhism.
The Golden Buddha
The short version of the story is in a small Asian village there was a statue of Buddha made from gold. A band of thieves and killers were roaming through villages stealing everything and wreaking havoc. To protect their valuable commodity, the villagers slathered it with mud and plaster to make it seem ugly and of no value.
The thieves came and picked the village clean, but they left the ugly little statue. For years the villagers lived in fear of the marauders return. They would regularly add layers of mud and plaster to make the statue even more ugly.
Decades passed and the town’s water source dried up. They decided to move the village closer to a river. The ugly statue was about to be left behind when an old man threw it on the junk cart. No matter how ugly it was, it had been in their town mascot for many years.
As the long day of travel ended, a wheel on the cart broke and all the contents tumbled into a ravine.
“Oh well, it’s just junk. Leave it there,” one man said. They went on a ways and camped. All night the old man thought about the town’s Buddha. He hated to leave it, even though it was not pretty and probably worthless. Still, he remembered stories his grandfather told about a golden Buddha that once sat in the center of town. Could this be the one?
At the first hint of daylight, he walked back to where the wheel broke. He climbed down the ravine and there was the old statue beneath rocks and debris. He sighed and was about to leave when a ray of sun glinted off a crack in the layers of plaster around the statue.
“Gold,” he cried.
The story continues about how the villagers’ mindsets about their worth and value were transformed by the discovery.
What’s Your Gold?
After the story, our trainer dimmed the lights and had us lie on the floor. With soft music playing, he asked us to think about the layers we have piled on top of our gold.
“What are those made of? Why do the layers exist? What is the gold they are covering up? Now, imagine those layers have been removed and all that remains is the gold. How do you feel? What can you do now that you couldn’t before?”
I know the expected response was I should feel elated. However, I felt naked, exposed and vulnerable. The real me had just been laid bare for the world to see. All the times I sneaked food into bedroom and inhaled it, all the times God told me to stop and I didn’t, all the rebellion, shame and guilt flooded over me like a nightmare that wouldn’t end.
“Give me back my protection,” I wanted to scream.
Then I knew. I was scared there might not be any gold there. I had hidden it so well, it might have ceased to exist. That day lying on the floor, God showed up. He gently pulled back the curtain of my life and showed me the gifts, talents and dreams He had placed inside me.
Even as I wrote Sweet Grace in 2013, I had no idea of how God could use the gifts He had given me. Would anyone would read a book I wrote or be helped by it? God knew the value I couldn’t see. Today, thousands have read Sweet Grace. This alone was beyond my comprehension when I wrote and self-published the book.
I still get emails from those who tell me they read my book and began their own journey of weight loss. Those messages remind me that all God had to do is take a piece of gold, the building blocks of heaven, and place it inside me.
We Are His Masterpieces
Today, I understand this is the way He sees me and you. We are His masterpieces, His poetry, His handiwork, His work of art, His accomplishment.1 We are visible displays of the infinite, limitless riches of His grace.2 We each have a destiny He prepared for us even before we were born.3 He sees us as valuable because He created us.4
For years, I did my best to go my own way while staying barely inside God’s boundaries. It wasn’t until I took the risky step if faith and said, “OK, God I will do things Your way,” that I began to understand more of what it takes to begin to utilize the commodity of heaven He had placed in me and in you.
I can’t shine until I allow God to polish off the rough edges. When that happens, I am worth even more than gold.5
Teresa Shields Parker is an author, coach, speaker, avid blogger, mother, wife and business owner. Her book Sweet Grace, is the #1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. The Sweet Series also includes four more books: Sweet Grace Study Guide, Sweet Change, Sweet Freedom and Sweet Freedom Study Guide. All are available on Amazon in print. Several are also available in kindle and audible. All are also available in .pdf form under the products tab on her website.
1 Ephesians 2:10 TPT, NLT, AMP, CEB, Weymouth New Testament
2 Ephesians 2:7 TPT
3 Ephesians 2:10 TPT
4 Psalm 139:13-16 NLT
5 Isaiah 13:12 ESV