2 But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught.
3 But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.
(2 Nephi 33:2-3)
Human beings aren’t always great judges of value.
One of the premises of value investing is that market prices (the value people place on assets) are not always representative of intrinsic value. Value investors look for undervalued assets, on the assumption that the market value of those assets will rise over time as people become more aware of the intrinsic value.
This phenomenon also occurs with spiritual things. As Nephi laments in the passage above, some things which have tremendous intrinsic value are ignored and even discarded. He knew that his words would fall into this category. Many people would fail to recognize their intrinsic value and would therefore fail to invest time and energy into making use of them.
Years ago, Truman Madsen shared a story which illustrates the impact of undervaluing things of great worth:
A woman…came into a famous art museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. She took only five minutes to walk briskly past masterworks produced over the centuries. Then with a harumph she turned her back to leave. A guard said to her quietly, “Madam, the paintings are not on trial. You are” (“Sacred Treasures,” New Era, August 1994).
Brother Madsen went on to quote one of the Articles of Faith: “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (A of F 1:13). He said that, if we fail to recognize things of value, “it is to some degree as if no one had ever learned or produced anything. Progress is not automatic. And treasures cannot be thrown away without great loss to you and those you influence.”
Today, I will strive to see clearly and to value things appropriately. I will particularly take care not to “cast away” things which are of “great worth.” I will strive to live up to Nephi’s challenge, to recognize and cultivate things with significant intrinsic value.