A SHOEBOX, A PAIR OF SCISSORS, AND 200 BUCKS
Seems a gentleman from New York had started a Department Store a bunch of years ago, and eventually handed it off to his sons, who had been raised in the business.
Daddy, with Mom in tow, then moved to the Sunshine State.
One springtime, Mom & Dad pop up at the store one day and find a sign on the door that says "Closed for Inventory". Dad fishes out his old key, opens the door, and hunts down said sons. He asks them why they are closed.
"Because we need to take inventory"
"What's an inventory?"
"Well .. that's where you count what you have."
"Can't you just see it?"
"No ... we have to count it up so we will know what our profit is."
"So get me a shoebox, a pair of scissors, and $200".
They did, and put it on the table before Dad.
"So look at that ... that's what I started with ... everything else you see ... THAT'S the profit".
When Jesus saved my soul, I was 7 or 8 or 9 or so, too young for me to remember how old I was. All I know is that I was afraid of dying. And when Dad reminded me of what I'd heard in VBS, that people who believe in Jesus go to heaven when they die, a big weight left my shoulders, and took with it the lump in my throat.
I'd brought a scared little kid with an ugly sin nature, to my first encounter with Jesus.
About 18 years later, when God tapped me on the shoulder and said it was time to get with the program, I'd added considerable weight, and a lot of filthy rags, to my personal inventory. Not a lot to get all proud about.
If someone gave you a season pass to the Metropolitan Opera, folks might guess you liked Opera. But that might not be true. About the only thing you could really deduce was that the giver of the gift liked Opera.
That's axiomatic about gifts ... they don't tell you anything about the recipient, but they sure tell you something about the giver.
Particularly true of the GIVER.
I brought a frightened kid with a sin nature, and some filthy rags, to the party. In other words, pond scum. So if you look at my life now ... what God has done in me ... with me ... through me ... think back to the Dad who owned the Department store. And remember that everything you see now, that's not something I brought to the party, must belong to the Giver of all things Good.
I talked about me, here, because I'm the only "Me" that I am. But look at your own life, and see what you brought to Jesus, and what He made it into. I suspect you'll be impressed, too, at the work that's been done by the Great Giver of All Things Good.
A sow's ear into a silk purse can't hold a candle to what He can do with a batch of filthy rags.....