Relying only on the sight of our natural eyes, it’s easy to consider each other rather mundane. The world is home to billions of us, and humankind has had millennia to get so used to itself that most of us don’t see others as anything more than “run of the mill.” We often feel that way about ourselves too—nothing more than ordinary.
How can seven or eight billion of something ever be anything but ordinary?
Inside, we are all made of gold. And not only are we gold, but each of us is a king or a queen in the making because we’re children of the Governor of the universe. Therefore, we are His potential heirs.
I wanted to convey this truth through the Parable of the Heirloom. The statue that the main character’s family had handed down for centuries was made of gold and depicted a king. But events of his life caused him to hide that gold under a nondescript façade. Eventually, he forgot there was ever anything special about it and considered it of no value. Boring. Unimpressive. Fit only for a dumpster.
As children of the Divine, we inherit a measure of divinity. C.S. Lewis wrote, “It’s a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship” (The Weight of Glory).
I ask myself: How often do I dismiss, overlook, or deny the value of others? How often do I fail to consider what others may become? The answer is “way too often.”
I love the illustration quoted by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “One woman who had been through years of trial and sorrow said through her tears, ‘I have come to realize that I am like an old 20-dollar bill—crumpled, torn, dirty, abused, and scarred. But I am still a 20-dollar bill. I am worth something. Even though I may not look like much and even though I have been battered and used, I am still worth the full 20 dollars'” (“You Are My Hands”).
He also said just before that illustration, “We cannot gauge the worth of another soul any more than we can measure the span of the universe. Every person we meet is a VIP [very important person] to our Heavenly Father. Once we understand that, we can begin to understand how we should treat our fellowmen.”
I hope that like the man in the parable, we can discover the value in ourselves and all other human beings. Sometimes all we may get is one little glimpse of the divine, that one little scratch in the façade, but let’s focus on that rather than on what is commonplace or even distasteful. The world would be a much better place if we treated each other according to the value that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ see in us.
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