Close Up – What’s it worth?

What is it?

So far, people have guessed street, pipe, snake, worm and a few other things. None of those were even close. What do you think it is? No cheating now. Read the story and then see if you can guess it:


Rachel entered the auction hall with trepidation. The familiar scents of her father’s possessions took her back to the good times they had together. Those times seemed distant memories as she approached the table laden with all he had left behind.

She would have liked to have held on to half of what was in this room, but the debts had to be paid. Even with this sale, she’d likely fall short.

As the auction progressed, Rachel’s spirits rose and fell. That antique desk brought only $150. The pair of lamps from his bedside, two dollars. But, the signed baseball brought almost a thousand.

She added the totals in her head. After the auction fees, she would be far short.

The bottom came with the last item.

Her father’s violin.

The case was tattered; its velvet lining flaked off at the touch. The neck was worn down to bare wood and the chin rest barely hung on to the scratched body.

The bidding started at a dollar. It went to 2, then 5, then 10.

And stopped.

Her eyes welled with tears.

“Going once.”

This couldn’t be happening!

“Going twice!”

Rachel sprang to her feet and snatched up the violin.

The auctioneer fell silent as a hushed murmur ran through the room.

She put rosin on the bow, quickly tuned the instrument by ear and began to play.

Joyous memories of family nights in front of the fireplace flooded through her mind and out through the strings. Her father’s love of Copland, Mozart, and Bach filled the room.

Rachel’s tears blurred her vision as she rapped up with a raucous rendition of the bluegrass tune Fire on the Mountain.

When she was done, she carefully placed the instrument back in it’s case and sat down to the stunned silence of the room.

The moment she sat the room burst into applause. Everyone in the room stood except for Rachel.

She only hoped she had encouraged the bidding.

The gavel fell as the auctioneer brought the room to order. “Okay, we were at ten dollars, do I hear 20?”

“100!” A man to the left raised his paddle.

“200!”

“500!”

The bidding came fast and furious. In a matter of seconds, it was over a thousand.

The auctioneer’s face glowed with delight. “We’re at 2500. Do I hear 3,000?  Going once,”

“Ten thousand dollars.” A man standing behind the back row raised his number paddle.”

Silence fell.

“Any other bids?”

“Going once. Going twice.”

The gavel fell.

“Sold to the gentleman in the back.”

Rachel was stunned.

She made her way to the payment counter to thank the man.

She began to worry as she waited. Would he walk out?

“We have his information from his bidding paddle, hun.” The woman taking the payments seemed to read her mind.

Finally, she spotted him making his way to the counter. He handed over a check which the clerk ran through a reader to verify.

“Thank you so much!” Rachel handed the violin, snug in it’s case, to the man.

He held it for a moment, gazing at it’s well-worn case.

“You can thank me by using it well.” He handed it back over. “I could scratch out a tune on this violin but you can make it sing to spread its joy. I only ask that you continue to play it.”

“I will”


If that story sounds familiar, that’s because it is a retelling of the poem, The Touch of the Master’s Hand by Myra ‘Brooks’ Welch and the song of the same title by Wayne Watson.

When I think of that story, I don’t think of the worth of the soul like the poem. I think of the talents that each person is given and how they can blossom when given over to the Master.

I’m no master violinist, but I hope to spread joy, hope, faith, and love through my words as I surrender them to God.

What talents do you have? Are you letting God use them? What would happen if you did? 

I challenge you today to step forward, dust off that talent God gave you, and, let it shine forth delight, enlightenment, peace, love, and joy. 


Oh, and that picture.

Wait for it.

You can thank my sister Renee Igo for sharing the photo and her music as she teaches and performs bluegrass, gospel, and classical music in her community.

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