We sometimes get so busy being responsible and adult, we forget that since God is our Father, He looks upon us, His children, with the same throat-catching emotion we experience when our kids offer us love gifts. I was granted a perspective on this in a unique way several years ago.

It began when I decided I needed to clean out my collection of elephants. My love for these mammoth beasts date back to a book I read when I was five. It became my greatest desire to own a live one; alas my parents didn’t agree, so I resorted to collecting inanimate ones. By my forties, I possessed almost a hundred of them — stuffed, porcelain, brass, pewter, glass and resin. I had them fashioned into teapots and watering cans, on picture frames and pillows.

If you collect something, you know it’s a mixed-blessing. Everyone who wishes to give you a gift is delighted to discover your hobby. Ask my mother, she likes ornamental spoons and so all her friends bring Helen a spoon whenever they return from their travels. Mom has them displayed in wall cabinets and stacked in drawers. There are just so many jam pots you can stick them in. After awhile plenty is enough.

So during the annual church yard sale this particular summer, I decided to off load a good portion of my collection. I had so many I couldn’t display them all at once; so I pulled out the stockpiled ones (didn’t even open the boxes) and decreed they needed to go. I thinned my herd by thirty percent.

At day’s end, we cleaned up, packed away and headed for our homes. I was thankful to discover that while I’d been busy directing the whole bazaar, good friends watching my stall had sold every last one of the pachyderms. I congratulated my foresight in pricing them within the buying power of small children accompanying their parents.

Walking across the now empty parking lot towards the parsonage, I heard a little voice behind me. “Mommy, I bought you something.” I turned to see four-year-old Jenny solemnly clutching a box overflowing with elephants. Her eyes shone with love and anticipation. “I know you like elephants. I got all of these just for you, mama.” Thirty-seven elephants at five-cents apiece. All of her allowance spent to give mama her elephants.

Guess how many elephants I now own? Over a hundred. And a goodly portion of them are love gifts from my youngest, and therefore displayed with pride. They’ll never be given away, sold or stockpiled. They’re priceless.

The gifts we give to our Father are priceless in His eyes too. He treasures our talents, a pure heart, a willing spirit, and our praise. And I like to think these are displayed in heaven in special places. I’m almost positive that God, when he walks with his angels, points to them and says, “See that ? My daughter, Janice, gave that to me. She’s the apple of my eye, you know.”


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