Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Two Dollar Set of Pearls

Have you ever grasped something so dear to you that you did not want to give it up? Maybe it wasn't material, maybe it was someone or some feeling, some hope, some joy. I recently heard about a little girl who was in this predicament.

Jenny recently purchased her greatest treasure, a set of pearls for only two dollars. She saved and saved until the treasure could be hers. Once in her hands, she never let go of them. She wore them around her neck constantly—except for when she bathed. Her mother told her they would make her skin turn green if they got wet, so she gave them up only then.

Jenny’s father had a tradition of reading to Jenny before bedtime and telling her he loved her. On one occasion Jenny’s father asked, “Do you love me?”

Jenny’s sincere reply, “Of course I do, Daddy.”

“Can I have your pearls?”

Jenny’s face showed her distress as she offered another solution. “Oh no, Daddy. These are my most favorite thing. But you can have my second favorite thing, my stuffed animal.”

Her dad lovingly declined and assured her of his love.

A few weeks later, Jenny’s dad asked the same question, to which Jenny’s reply was, “Oh, Daddy, these are my most favorite possession. But you can have my favorite doll I got for Christmas.”

Again her father declined and assured her of his love.

A few days later, Jenny approached her dad. Sad, but sure, she handed her dad her favorite possession, her pearls. With a big smile, Jenny’s dad pulled out a blue velvet box and handed it to her. Inside was something that Jenny couldn’t believe. It was a set of genuine pearls to replace her fake two dollar string. Then her father explained, “I’ve been waiting to give these to you. I’ve been waiting for you.”

This story touched me in a way I didn’t know I needed. My most favorite possession isn’t a set of pearls. But it is something I couldn’t explain until I heard this story. My most valued possession is inside me. It includes my hopes, my dreams, and my emotional needs as a woman, mother and wife. And deep down inside I’ve had to come to the realization that it also includes my pride.

In my reckless unwillingness to give these things to God, to my Daddy, I have neglected to consider what exactly I might acquire if I do in fact offer Him what I value most. That realization has been more eye-opening than anything else I’ve ever encountered. And I pray that you will not be as stingy as I have been.

Here is Jenny’s story, perhaps told much better than I ever could.