Friday, October 3, 2014


When 'no' means 'yes'

A meditation on choices and how the traditional faith disciplines come alive in daily family life. Because I have a toddler and preschooler who want to know 'why' and 'how' when it comes to Jesus and worship.


The purging as I prep for a moving/garage sale has led me to reconsider dress up costume organization. The plan is simple:

  • 4-5 hooks mounted on a board, so costumes and hats are visible (although kids will wear one favorite every day)
  • Shallow tray on the floor for a few accessories, like 4 necklaces, 2 rings, a fan, a parasol, and a compact mirror
  • Maybe a wall mounted mirror behind the costumes

I'm done with the hand me down jewelry box. It just seems to promote squirreling away of trinkets. I'm done with the current system of dumping costumes in a small hinge lid box.

But there are separate special accessories to Abigail. Those have a tiny 3" box on the dresser and she wears them for special occasions and church. Two crosses given at her baptism, clip pearl earrings and bracelet given when she helped as a flower girl in her aunt and uncle's wedding. Good memories to remember!

photo credit:

Abigail rarely forgets to remind me when it is time to put on "the pearl jewelry." But do I remember to share this pearl story?

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.
Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!" Matthew 13:44-46

Nick and I talked quite a bit over the summer about this teaching story by Jesus. Ever have a bit of the Bible keep coming up from different people, in different contexts? Well, it made us pay attention.

What exactly is the pearl or treasure? Because the parable stories earlier in chapter 13 are about seed being planted, sometimes we misinterpret the seed to be the word of God in our hearts. Given the high view of Scripture in Protestant circles, the misinterpretation could easily come from a reader's previously held viewpoint... or a terrible children's Bible translation.

In fact, Jesus explains that the planter is himself, "The field is the world. The good seed stands for the people who belong to the kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one" Matthew 13:38. Put more simply, God initiates and acts; he seeks and plants people. And the analogy continues with the treasure and pearl stories. God is the merchant seeking after people -- us -- a treasure in his eyes!

It is not I who have to hunt for God, or truth, or knowledge (although an open and God-oriented heart helps, and his word should be treasured in my heart), but rather, God has already been on the look out for me and you. He has already bought us at great price through Jesus' death on the cross. God treasures me.

Remember how pearls are formed? A grain of sand or piece of sharp shell enters an oyster shell and lodges in the soft oyster body, causing pain because it cannot be expelled. The oyster secretes smooth nacre, which is calcium carbonate, to encase the sharp edges. Layer by layer, a lovely light reflecting pearl encases the painful hurt.

God sees how I encase the hurt and sin at the core of my being. And he still loves me. God sees me buried in dirt, and sells out everything to be with me. He assigns me value: I'm worth everything to him.

In a weekly way, God has dropped into our lives an opportunity to share this good news with Abigail. It's not often in children's Bibles. Do I remember to share the pearl story?

Hopefully you'll be on the lookout for children wearing pearls and gold and silver crosses, too.
And you can share the pearl story with them: they are worth everything to God.

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