The eBay Rule

They say the value of something is shown only by what someone is willing to pay for it.

Joby Martin, a pastor in Jacksonville, calls this the “eBay rule.” You may have something in your house that you feel is really, really valuable. But when you put it on eBay, you may find out it’s worth about $6 to everybody else. That collector’s edition of the Rambo VHS you think is such a prize? Not really worth much.

This also applies to the opposite scenario: The only time I find shows like “American Pickers” or “Antiques Roadshow” interesting is when somebody has an item they got at a yard sale for $3 and then they’re told a collector would be willing to pay $10,000 for it.

This actually happened to my family when my grandmother died. A pretty ordinary-looking lamp that had sat in her living room for 40 years turned out to be worth $25,000—at least, that’s the amount one antique store owner offered to pay for it. My grandmother had no idea. We had no idea. (Though it was conspicuous how many people suddenly remembered that Grandma had said she wanted to leave that lamp to them.) My first thought was of all the time we kicked a soccer ball around in that room. I had no clue I was inches away from breaking something that valuable every time I went to see my grandparents.

The Apostle Paul makes it very clear just how much God values us: “He did not even spare his own Son but offered him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything?” (Romans 8:32 CSB)

If God gave up his most precious possession to save us, why should we worry about any of the rest of our needs? Why would he rescue us from sin … but not give us help in our marriage? Why supply for us the Holy Spirit … but withhold wisdom from us in our parenting? God sacrificed Jesus to redeem us, and that should change how we perceive what God is doing through and for us.

We do not have to wonder what we’re worth. And we don’t have to worry about our needs. God would not have made that kind of investment—the most costly investment ever made—and then not supply what we need to accomplish his will.

Sometimes when I am talking with people who are stressed about making a wrong decision, I remind them that God has more invested in their lives than they do. When we’re facing a big decision and we’re looking to God for help, we need to learn to pray a “sheep prayer”:

“God, I need direction. I’m a sheep, and sheep are dumb. If sheep get where they need to go, it’s not because of their wisdom but because of the compassion of their shepherd. I don’t have the capacity to understand your will, but I’m going to trust you’ll get me where I need to go. So I will make this decision as best as I can, without fear or worry, realizing that you’re not going to let your investment go to waste.”

Every word of Luke 12:32 is specifically chosen to help us in a time of difficult decisions or worry: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (ESV).

That promise is an explosion of metaphors: We aren’t just sheep, but little sheep, and we can rest easy with the Shepherd.

It’s God’s “good pleasure to give”—not “your employer’s agreement to pay” or “your slave master’s duty to provide your lodging.” God our Father is like a dad who delights in taking care of his kids. And God is going to give us the kingdom, which means it’s something he is sovereign over.

God is a compassionate Shepherd, a tender Father, and an all-powerful King all wrapped up in one.

Shepherd. Father. King. He gives freely everything we need to accomplish our purpose. So, then, what are we afraid of?