To start, the house is not valued at what you originally paid for the property. You can have it professionally assessed and pull comps to determine an approximate value–comparable homes with the same size, age, lot size, amenities, etc. in the neighborhood that have sold in the last six months. This is a great starting point. But, in the end, your property is only worth as much as the highest-paying buyer is willing to pay for it. Even if the comps and the appraisal and your opinion value the property at $250,000, if you can’t find a buyer to purchase the house for more than $225,000, then the value of your home is $225,000.
So, how do you determine the value of YOU?
You don’t determine your value based on how much money you have in the bank, by your assets and investments. You don’t define your value by how many skills you have, your IQ, or the way you look. There are many contributing factors to how the world determines the “approximate value” of one another, but all these factors don’t accurately represent your true value.
When you strip everything away from your life–when you disregard what you have and what you know and how you appear–you still have a value. But what is it and who determines what you’re worth?
With freezing December temperatures in the Inland Northwest, snow has been falling steadily for at least a week now. Rooftops are white, and many extra layers are needed daily. The season reminds me of a story…
After a long day of caring over his dominion in the middle of the country, a farmer nestled in for the night. Warmed by a steaming cup of cocoa, the farmer surveyed his property from the window of his farmhouse. The moon was strong enough on this bitter night to illuminate each speck of snow that blanketed the ground and covered the bare trees.
In the distance, contrasting against the silver ice, a warm, orange light came from his barn where he left the door cracked enough for ventilation. The farmer knew his animals were safe and warm inside, and so he was content.
As he turned to tuck himself in, the farmer noticed a shadow in the snow. Dimming his interior light, he approached the window and peered closer through the glass pane. Frozen in place, a lowly bird sat huddled in the snow just beyond the glow from the barn. A gust of wind blew, covering the poor bird with even more of the winter’s unforgiving storm.
Wanting to find shelter from the stinging cold, the bird began to hop. But with the confusing bluster of flakes surrounding it, the creature apparently couldn’t tell where to go and fluttered a foot in the wrong direction, away from the warmth of the barn.
“If only the bird knew what direction to go,” mumbled the farmer.
Understanding that the bird was moments from death, the farmer quickly thought of ways he could help. Abandoning his cup of cocoa, he flung open the back door and yelled out to the bird, hoping to scare it back toward the barn. But the bird did not move. Next, he threw on his boots and coat, determined to pick up the bird and place it in the cozy straw of the barn. But, as the farmer approached, the bird fluttered away in fear.
Not wanting to scare the creature into the darkness, the farmer tried a different approach, retrieving a handful of feed which he dropped in a trail toward the barn. But the bird was not enticed by the food and remained frozen in place.
Frustrated, the farmer had a thought. “If only I could be a bird for a moment in time, I could come alongside this fledgling and show it the way toward warmth and peace.”
The farmer understood; the bird was not going to listen. It needed to be shown the way by another bird.
Just as the farmer helplessly watched the creature suffer, God knew humankind needed an example. He sent his son to become flesh and walk beside us in a bitter, unforgiving world, to show us the way toward warmth and peace.
In a barn long ago, where the sacrificial lambs were birthed and wrapped in swaddling clothes to preserve their perfection for the temple offerings that washed away sin, a boy was born. He was perfect, wrapped in swaddling clothes to protect his perfection, and ultimately was sacrificed for you.
Jesus is the reason for the season.
“For what good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
~ John Steinbeck
You see, just as a home’s value is based on what a buyer is willing to pay for it, your worth is determined by a buyer’s price.
Your life was paid for by a buyer willing to sacrifice everything for you, and his name was Jesus. The son of God came to this earth, bound by flesh, tempted by the world, and lived a sinless life free of holy judgment and condemnation. He paid the ultimate sacrifice with his blemish-free life to show you what you’re worth. He paid the price for you, and it was the highest price.
You are worth that price; the sinless life that Jesus paid for you. THAT’S how much you’re worth.
As you charge head-first into Christmas and finish out the year, you may be tempted to take those other factors into account. You may look at the scale and curse those extra holiday cookies, or despair at your bank account balance after an excessive splurge on gifts, or be tempted to value yourself based on your achievements in 2017. Self-evaluation and correction are critical to growth, but like rooms in a house, they will crumble without a solid foundation.
Set your foundation of worth by acknowledging the price Jesus paid for you so you could be saved and give thanks for it! You are more valuable than you may know, and even if you don’t yet understand it, it’s not too late to begin…
Lee A. Arnold
The Lee Arnold System of Real Estate Investing