Don’t Miss The Opportunity

Lu 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Sometimes scriptures are illustrated more graphic than you could ever have thought them out. Recently, my wife and I were vacationing at a beach in North Carolina with my daughter and her family. My daughter loves to be at the beach early in the morning but because of bad weather the previous day, she had not been able to go out. This morning the weather had lessened and she went down early. When she returned she showed us a large shark tooth she had found and a few other treasures. She told us that there were a lot of sea shells there also. My wife and I promptly got ready and went down to see them. When we got there we were amazed at the large quantity of quality shells. We had never seen anything like this so we gathered up some of the more choice ones that we found. One of them in particular was larger than the others and one of the largest ones was replete with color. None of them were chipped or broken.

When we returned to the beach house we laid them out on the table to see our treasure and noticed that some of the shells had the same color patterns and that they varied in size as well. We then arranged them in rows of like color patterns and in ascending size. Feeling good about our find, we left them on the table to admire for a while.

After several minutes had gone by, one of my granddaughters came up to me with the prize shell, the largest find we had, and said very shyly, and sweetly ”Grandpa (slight pause)could I have this shell? At that moment my selfish heart began its defense. “Why did she ask for the best one? That is the best one of the whole bunch.” Then my thoughts were interrupted with “don’t miss this opportunity.” I then began to argue with myself about how to respond. If I keep it what would I do with it? I guess I would take it home and put it somewhere and forget it. If I give it to her, what would she do with it? I wasn’t sure. Would she value it? If she would it would be worth it, after all I still had over 2 dozen more shells and I wasn’t sure what I would do with them, either. I decided that I would give her the shell so I told her that yes I would give it to her and that she should remember that this was our gift to her to remember out time at the beach together. Off she went with her new treasure.

I was feeling pretty good about the decision when suddenly another of our granddaughters was standing in front of me with the next greatest treasure of our find. It was about the largest shell we had remaining but it was by far the prettiest of the lot. She began in the same way her sister had and shyly, and sweetly and in almost the exact same voice, “Grandpa, (slight pause) could I have this one?” Then she looked me in the eye with the most expectant hope she could express and my selfish heart once again began to make his case. “You already gave away the biggest one and now she is asking for the prettiest one.” My thoughts were once again interrupted with “don’t miss the opportunity.” For the second time I began to argue with myself. You have to give it to her because it wouldn’t be right to give to one and not the other. Does she really want it or does she just want to keep up with her sister? The answer came quickly and I put my arm around her and said, yes, we would give it to her and I wanted her to remember that it was our special gift to her. Clutching her new prize, off she went. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the recent transactions but the decision had been made and I began to think that they had already gotten something even more important than the shells; it was a gift from the grandparents.


I thought no more about it and went on through the events of the week. I found some sharks teeth, and a few more “treasures” but there wasn’t another sea shell bounty the rest of the week. In fact the beaches were quite barren of shells other than the broken variety. Still, it proved to be the greatest beach experience I had ever had.

The last day at the beach I noted that the girls were swimming and having a great time in the waves and the other kids were having fun with their dad. My wife and I had to gather our things and decided to go back to the beach house a little early, to pack. We had gotten most of things packed when the rest of the group arrived. It was just a couple minutes later, when the first granddaughter came up to me and said in the same voice that she had used in the request for the largest shell, “Grandpa (slight pause) when we were swimming at the beach I found this shell. She then produced a seashell almost as large as the one that I had given her a few days before, and said so proudly, I want you to have it from me.” As I received her gift I had to fight back all the motions I was feeling. I was so proud of her, I was so blessed and thankful, and I was ashamed that I had coveted that which I had gotten so cheaply. Then, once again, her sister came up to me and said “Grandpa (slight pause) just as we were leaving the beach, I found this one. She then produced a shell that was similar in size and color to the one I had given her. She continued, “I saw it being washed back out to sea and I grabbed it before it was gone. I want this to be my gift to you.” As she handed it to me, I grabbed her and hugged her, and said, Thank you. I will cherish it forever.” As she bounded away I thought they have given me infinitely more than I have given them. What if I had missed the opportunity? All I would have gained from this experience would have been some empty sea shells. Instead I have the joy of seeing my granddaughters emulate what they saw demonstrated before them and then to make it their own experience. In addition, I got to see the Lord working on my old nature and demonstrating His great love for me.

Oh yeah, the smooth white stones were a reminder to me about Revelations 2:17.

Vernon Ball