In 2012, Edvard Munch’s 1895 painting The Scream sold for a record $120 million.
Well…it was actually $119.9 million; but apparently when you’re working with numbers that large, it is acceptable to round to the nearest million. 😉
The Scream depicts human anxiety, and is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It was supposed to sell for $80 million, and the previous record for the most-expensive work of art sold at auction had been $106.5 million.
I imagine The Scream’s previous owner rested well the day after that sale with a cup of coffee and a sense of unparalleled satisfaction as the world debated the pros, cons and realities of such a sale.
For some, this raises an issue of opulence and the overly wealthy giving value to things that don’t inherently merit it. For others, the bigger problem is the myriad of more important ways to spend $120 million; and then there’s the rebuttal about the increasing privatization of beautiful works of art. Each has some validity.
However, this unequaled and seemingly ridiculous sale prompts me to consider: value.
See…the value of any given item is determined by what someone is willing to pay. Plain and simple…a painting, a car, a home or a gadget is worth: what someone is willing to pay. The quantified value of something is whatever amount the appetite of the purchaser can summon to exchange for that item. Right or wrong…value is determined by the buyer.
As I reflect on what I would do if I had $120 million, I quickly find myself grateful that God saw value in us. So much so that He bought you & me for an absurd price: the priceless life of His Son.
Now that’s a seemingly ridiculous purchase we should really be talking about.
Anyway…here’s a question to consider: What do you value?
What are you willing to exchange at a great price?
Your answer can be driven by a need, a desire or even a cause; but what we value actually reveals something about us. It reveals our heart. What we do with our valuables or money…especially the larger sums reveal what we love.
Jesus once spoke about this. He said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Matthew 6:21] It is pretty simple, but profoundly true.
What we value is where we find our heart. It reveals what we love.
The Norwegian man who now owns The Scream obviously loves art….or Edvard Munch…or something close to that. What do you love? Not…what do you say you love, but what is it that you really love?
Does what you value reflect the heart of God?
Find your treasure…find your heart.
We’ll dig into some of these realities a bit more as we gather as a church this weekend. See you there.