I’m not much of a fairytale guy. I didn’t play Prince Charming with my daughter and rescue her from the evil witch, godmother, scary beast, or even read the fairytales to her. But there is a story that I read that has stuck with me over the years. From memory, it goes a little something like this:

A father was putting his young daughter to bed one evening. He asks her, “Do you love me?”
“Of course, Daddy. I love you to the moon and back!”
“Then give me your pearl necklace.”
It was a toy necklace that she had bought earlier with her mom. She immediately grabbed the necklace and held it with both hands as she pulled away from him. “No. Daddy, you know how much I love these pearls. They are my favorite thing.  But here, you can have my stuffed horse. I really love him too.”
He responded, “No, that’s fine. You keep your horse and rest well tonight sweetie. I love you!”

A couple of weeks later, the father was tucking the little girl in bed again. He asked the same thing, “Do you love me?”
To which she responded, “Of course, Daddy. I love you to the moon and back!”
“Then give me your pearls.”
She responded the same as before, but this time she offered her stuffed bunny. “Daddy, you know how much I love my pearls! Here, you can have my bunny.  You know how much I love him and how he comforts me.”
“No, baby girl. You keep your bunny. Rest well tonight. I love you!”

Well, a few weeks later, the father goes in to tuck her into bed. But she was upset and crying. He sat down beside her, put his hand on her, and asked what was wrong. She slowly reached under the covers and pulled out her prized pearl necklace. “Here daddy. You know that I love my pearls more than anything in the world. But if you want my pearls, I want you to have them. I love you to the moon and back!” He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead as he put her pearl necklace in his pocket, pulled out a velvet case, and handed it to her. She opened up the case to find the most gorgeous set of pearls she had ever seen.

I can’t even count the times that I felt and behaved like the little girl. It is so hard to let go of things at times.  Obviously, the little girl’s necklace was a very poor imitation of the real pearls her father had. And it makes me think of all the things in life that are presented as authentic but fall so very, very short of the real gifts of God. Or even, how many things that I know aren’t authentic that I settle for, either from a lack of patience, stubbornness, or just thinking that it’s as good as it’s going to get.  So why settle with the fake and phony when I can have the real deal?

In the book of Matthew, Jesus speaks of a couple of parables that addresses this:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
– Matthew 13:44-46

What is common with both men is they found something of great value to them. They placed so much value in it that they did whatever necessary to purchase it. In other words, they went all in.  They didn’t hold anything back to acquire that one prized possession. They didn’t set back and say, “Man, should of, could of, would of.” They went out and did it.  And not with drudgery, but with joy and gladness. They knew that everything they were giving up paled in comparison to what they were gaining.

This is something that I struggle with. Today, am I giving God lip service and replacing Him with something meaningless?  Or am I giving Him my best and working on surrendering to Him instead of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life? I must remind myself to slow down, find the things of God that bring joy today, and not worry about the things of tomorrow, next month, or next year. And as I have said before, I must remind myself that everything comes from Him. As James 1:17 says: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

I think it is important to remember that the Lord is patient with us. But, at the same time, He is expecting us to grow and mature in the process. His desire is to have the same personal relationship as the father did with his daughter. The question is, do we value that relationship or the things that take away from it? Have we found that pearl of great price, or are we still holding on to the toy necklace?

— Written by Lee

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