The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world. Crowds herd their way through the Louvre in Paris to catch a glimpse of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. Guinness World Records lists the Mona Lisa as having the highest insured value for a painting, assessed at $100 million in 1962. That’s about $600 million today. But how much do you think a print of the Mona Lisa fetches? Peanuts. You can get one on Amazon for $7.
So why the canyon-sized price difference between the art hanging in Paris and the copy hanging in your local coffee shop? One is a work created by the artist himself; the other by a laser printer.
Do you realize the masterpiece of the Artist of artists is you? The Almighty God knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). Every human—regardless of race or age or gender—has this same inherent worth and dignity because they have been made in the image of the one true God (Genesis 1:27).
We image, or reflect, certain attributes of God—love, mercy, kindness, community, grace—because God has made us to be like Him, to proclaim Him, to spread His glory. While lions, eagles, and breathtaking mountains are wonders of creation, none of them compare to the glory of a baby who is just discovering her nose, or an elderly man teaching his grandson how to fish. Every person you meet matters. They matter to God, and they should matter to you and to me.
The principalities and powers of this present age continually tempt us to deny the truth that we are made in God’s image. Gossip, slander, sexism, racism, assault, and all forms of abuse are attacks on the value and dignity all human beings have by virtue of being made in the image of God. The incarnate Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, makes God known to us in all His perfection. Where we fail as image-bearers, Christ succeeds, redeems, and makes new in the work of the gospel.
If people made in God’s image are of more worth than a sparrow—and Jesus says they are—and the Lord knows when even one sparrow falls to the ground—and He does—then He certainly values you more than can you imagine (Luke 12:6–7). The truth is you and everyone you meet is infinitely more valuable than the $600 million Mona Lisa. Let’s love and honor one another according to the sky-high price tag God attaches to people made in His image.
Written by J. A. Medders