I still remember vividly the book cover that caught my eye. It wasn't exactly what you'd call a spectacular sight. In fact, you could even call the sight ugly--a shriveled husk of a songbird that had been dried and preserved many years ago. But even though the picture wasn't pleasing--the title and the promise of what I would find in its pages tickled my excitement. I glanced past all the glossy coastal photos on the covers of other books on the shelf and reached for the picture of the stuffed bird. The book was called The Rarest of the Rare. It was a collection of stories behind some of the rarest treasures in the Harvard Museum of Natural History. And the unsightly specimen on the front wasn't just a shriveled taxidermy specimen. It was a carefully preserved Lewis’ Woodpecker that Meriwether Lewis the famed explorer of the American West had carefully catalogued and preserved himself. Its storied past and special uniqueness meant that this little bird was priceless piece of history.
This is just one example of humanity’s pursuit of rarities. The fact that something is set apart by its uncommonness and uniqueness makes our eyes gleam. Whether its an oddly shaped iceberg that satellites have spotted in the Arctic Ocean or a quirky Picasso painting that’s been discovered, we always have an appetite for rarities. They make the headlines and catch people’s eyes. But there are certain uniquely precious gifts that we can’t put a price tag on. They’re not just rare and unique, they are magnificently essential. They are special on another level. A little bit of this great preciousness is conjured up by John when he exclaims, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1) And he explains this amazing gift in his first epistle when he says, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:11-13) Eternal life--this gift goes beyond rare. It is the most precious gift we can have and yet it’s offered to each one of us freely by our Loving Savior. Its preciousness can be appreciated every morning we wake up and turn our thoughts toward our Heavenly Father in thankfulness. What a priceless privilege!