What would you do if you had $16 million dollars? Buy a new car, a house, take the trip of a lifetime, pay off all your debt and all the debt of all your family and friends? How about purchase a violin? Believe it or not, the highest price paid for an original Stradivarius violin was $16 million by an unknown buyer in a sealed Sotheby’s auction.
That is a lot of cash for a violin; what in the world makes it so valuable? There are two big reasons; one because they are very rare and secondly because they are the undisputed best sounding violins in the world. They can create almost perfect sounds that no other violins can create. The reason why is fascinating.
Antonio Stradivari began making violins (and other stringed instruments) in the last 17th century in Cremona Italy. He made approximately 960 of them and his sons continued his tradition. It is estimated that 450 – 512 are still in existence today. They are one of the most expensive and sought-after instruments in the world. Hundreds of thousands of copies have been created throughout the centuries and musicians and scientists alike have sought to mimic its acoustic tones and perfection, but none have succeeded. Most experts agree that the wood makes these instruments special. How or why the wood was special is another story.
The wood was most likely grown in a unique environment; some claim a mini ice age, others say a special microclimate that subjected the trees to stresses: wind, altitude and cold could have caused slow growth and intense density. Still, others say Stradivari buried the wood in Venetian canals to give it the special extra compact composure. Yet others claim he treated the wood with special chemicals like borax, sodium and potassium. In actuality, no one knows why the wood is so incredibly dense, but we do know that it is unique, stands the test of time, is extremely valuable and cannot be fast-tracked or recreated.
This wood is like us.
Our lives, our character, our authority is something that needs to but cultivated over time through unique and usually adverse conditions. It’s the tough times that produce the amazing product. The Apostle Peters calls these less than comfortable conditions trials; he further goes on to convince us how powerful and beneficial they are. They make our faith like another valuable item - gold.
Our faith is valuable, worth eminently more than $16 million dollars, it is priceless, it cannot be purchased at all.
God wants you to be the best, be made of the best, play the best sound the best, have infinite value…… but are you ready for the adverse conditions?