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Topic:  GIVING

Gift of Pearls
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 $2.00. 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. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get
another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."  As soon as Jenny got home, she
emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more
than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames
if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give
her another new dollar bill and 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. The
only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath.
Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.  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 baby doll, 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
all yours ."  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
the genuine treasure.  So it is with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for
us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful
treasure. Isn't God good? Are you holding onto things which God wants you to
let go of. Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners,
relationships, habits and activities which you have come so attached to that
it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the
other hand but do believe this one thing..................God will never take
away something without giving you something better in its place.

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018