Value that lasts

MANY decisions are based on appraised value—directly or indirectly. For instance, getting a college degree for a rewarding career that supports oneself and his or her family. Once in a while, people appraise the true worth of things that they have pursued—lest they find themselves chasing the smoke.

I can think of the world’s most expensive items before I realize about those that are really worth a king’s ransom. Brooding over the earth 380 kilometers above, the International Space Station is the most expensive object ever made by man worth about $150 billion.

We could be surprised that the most expensive bonsai tree that has existed for over 300 years will run you about $1.3 million. I hope to groom such a tree.

If you wonder what the most expensive book is priced at $30.8 million, think about the Codex Leicester of Leonardo da Vinci – a book of scientific writings by the famous genius.

The most expensive watch in the world – the A. Lange Sohne Grand Complication—can be yours at $2.5 million with the patience to wait for a year to finish it. This very complicated (876 hand wrought parts, 7 complications and 14 functions) and precise watch can only be offered by only one man.

The most expensive Cognac in the world is Henry IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac Grande Champagne; get a bottle for no less than $2 million. This means about $20,000 per sip.

You might want to own the rare and huge Tibetan Mastiff puppy. This impressive hound is worth $2 million.

The highest-priced photograph ever sold was the deceptively plain photo of the Rhein II, made by German artist Andreas Gursky. It was sold for $4.3 million.

To collect the priciest sword of Napoleon Bonaparte, prepare for $6.4 million.

The most lavish car in the world, currently, is the Lamborghini Veneno, costing $4.6 million.

The most extravagant champagne in the world is the delicious Gout de Diamants Champagne, sold for $1.2 million. However, it is not the content that makes this champagne so pricey, but the bottle which has an 18-carat white gold plate with a 19-carat diamond installed in the middle of it.

Have you wondered what the most expensive computer in the world is? It is the huge Milky Way 28243 Supercomputer in Guangzhou, China; recreating the computer would cost about $400 million.

Not one of us may live to own these collectibles I just mentioned. Suppose one gets very wealthy, does his wealth guarantee happiness? In some studies, those who accumulated more wealth did not become happier. I think the reason is that if the wealthy have much lechon to serve on the table in ordinary days, the lechon will eventually taste like dried fish (funny but true).

The meaning of life, however, is more than owning the most expensive things mentioned above nor just becoming wealthy. One can be super-rich but can only be tangled with much sorrow from a rich man’s “flu”.

If one seeks to find real value, it might be in friendships that survive time and tribulations. It might be in preparing for the now and the winter seasons of life. It might be in true love. All these with peace and hope.

How true is this saying: “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold (Psalm 199:72)”?This verse from the Bible should give meaning to the whole man while everyone is groping for answers about fulfilment and assurance in owning the things that last. Mere religion cannot give us this state of mind. We have to have a relationship with the Creator in order to be real heirs of the beautiful world to come.