It is really hard to value invisible people. Most of the time I’m unaware of how I ignore and mentally dismiss people as unimportant. The clerk at the store becomes a tool to process my groceries. A mailman is faceless unless my mail is late. The homeless are remembered with a few cans of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving when I feel I need to get in the spirit of the season and give to the homeless shelter.
Yet, God places great value and worth in dismissed people. What we see on the outside of a person doesn’t equate what is inside the person–we can’t see the richness placed there by an unseen hand. One of my favorite poems, written in 1921 by Myra Brooks Welch, examines this thought beautifully.
The Touch of the Master’s Hand
Twas battered and scarred and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
“What am I bid, good folk?” he cried.
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?
A dollar, a dollar … now two … only two …
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice,
Going for three” … but no!
From the room far back a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow.
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
As sweet as an angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?”
As he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars … and who’ll make it two?
Two…two thousand, and who’ll make it three?
Three thousand once and three thousand twice …
Three thousand and gone!” said he.
The people cheered, but some exclaimed
“We do not quite understand …
What changed it’s worth?” and the answer came:
“Twas the touch of the master’s hand.”
And many a man with soul out of tune
And battered and scarred by sin
Is auctioned cheap by the thoughtless crowd
Just like the old violin.
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul, and the change that is wrought
By the touch of the master’s hand.
O Master! I am the tuneless one
Lay, lay Thy hand on me,
Transform me now, put a song in my heart
Of melody, Lord, to Thee!
Who are the invisible people that cross your path each day? The next time you pick up your coffee at Starbucks, look the clerk in the eye and express your thanks. Notice a new employee at work and invite him or her out for coffee. Stop and visit with a new neighbor.
We are all capable of ignoring people and dismissing the value hidden within them by God. Who have you unknowingly dismissed? Whose melody are you missing?
In Him together, Susan Gaddis