“The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.
‘Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!’
Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face.
‘A dollar ninety-five. That’s almost two dollars. If you really want them, I’ll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself.’…
At last she had enough money to buy the necklace. Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere–Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed…
Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, ‘Do you love me?’
‘Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you.’
‘Then give me your pearls.’
‘Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess–the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my favorite.’
‘That’s okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night.’ And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.
About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again, ‘Do you love me?’
‘Daddy, you know I love you.’
‘Then give me your pearls.’
‘Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my babydoll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper.’
‘That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you.’ And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.
A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.
‘What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?’
Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver,she finally said,
‘Here, Daddy. It’s for you.’
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.
He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.”
This beautiful story was written by an unknown author and was shared with me earlier this evening. The timing of it couldn’t have been more on point considering my current situation. Just one day before I had said goodbye to someone who I care for deeply…out of obedience to what I felt God was calling me to do.
And as my friend read this story, tears flowed down my cheeks...but not tears of sadness, tears of hope and thankfulness…Tears of faith in knowing that God doesn’t bring beautiful things into our lives and then take them away as some cruel game. He brings them into our lives for a purpose and for a time. BUT often instead of seeing those beautiful things as gifts, we turn them into idols. And what I’ve seen in my own life is that often when I begin holding on too tightly is exactly when God asks me to surrender, not out of cruelty but out of love….and exactly because He knows best that false idols break the hearts of their worshippers.
My bet is that I’m not alone in this. God asks us to surrender things close to our hearts from time to time, He asks us to trust, He asks us to step out in faith and as we do He shows us what true treasure looks like. But my own personal opinion is that the real pearls that He gives us in return might not look like what we expect them to. They might not be that relationship that we so desire at exactly the right time, or that job that we’ve wanted, or that promotion we’ve been waiting for. I think the true Pearls He offers us in return are Himself. Perhaps that sounds incredibly unromantic and anticlimactic, but I would argue that His offering of His whole self to us is the most incredible gift known to mankind. I would argue that if we all truly understood the beauty, the worth, the fullness of life, and the joy that comes through Christ, we would sacrifice everything for HIm. We would not rest until we have all of Him. We would live our lives breathing in and breathing out our undying love and devotion to Him. And the incredible thing is that often times as part of the gift of Himself to us, He does and can bring earthy blessing…but those things, those people, those gifts are never the point, God is. He always has been. And He always will be. He is the treasure. And only when we realize that will we be able to truly enjoy and handle the earthly blessings He brings into our lives…in His time.
So I would like to ask you all today, What are you hanging on to? Because I am confidant that in your surrender, God will meet you, and He will show you what true treasure looks like.
“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” – C.S. Lewis