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But what if she DIDN’T sell her seashells by the seashore?

July 26, 2011

There is a box of seashells hidden underneath my old bed at my parents’ house.

And by old bed I mean my bed twice removed. Like, the first big girl bed I ever had. The bed I moved out of when my littlest sister was born and I moved to the downstairs bedroom.

Not that it matters. What matters is that I bought the whole box of shells for a quarter at a garage sale, and then never, ever used them.

Ok, to be fair, they may not be under the bed any more. Given that both of my sisters claimed that room (and that bed) as their own after I moved out, there is a very good chance the box was found and disposed of at some point.

And that makes my story all the more sad.

Because even though I only paid 25 cents for those shells, by doing nothing with them I effectively lost money on the transaction.

Is anyone else thinking about the Parable of the Talents here? (Or if you read a new enough version of the Bible, it may say the Parable of the bags of gold.) I for one think “parable of the talents” is the better title, because we are lucky enough to have that wordplay there, rather than having to actually exegete the whole story to explain what the bags of gold stand for.

Not sure of the story? Well, here’s a very non-verbatim version of it: A rich man went on vacation, and since he loved having his money around him but didn’t want to take it on the airplane, he gave it to his servants, according to how well they took care of him. So one servant got a lot of it, another got some, and the last servant, who clearly sucked at servanting, got a tiny bit, just enough to make him feel useful. The first servant played the market with the money. It was risky but he doubled his ROI. The second servant started selling Tupperware and made twice what he invested in the company. The third servant, however, was afraid of losing the money, so he carried it around with him in his wallet.

When the rich man came home, he praised the first two servants for not just storing but using the money. Then he beat the snot out of the third servant for being a pansy, gave the tiny bit of money to the first servant, and kicked the last servant out of the house.

The message that most sermons give from that story is that God gives us gifts and talents (see here’s where the wordplay comes into, well, play) and that we mustn’t hold onto them but rather use them. For even though he gives us different measures of gifts and talents, we are all capable of doubling God’s investment in us (and then some).

So take the box out from under the bed, stupid.

I mean really. What’s the deal?

My “deal” was usually that I would procure supplies with grand ideas for using them. (I have paper and scissors and markers and stickers aplenty in my craft closet!) But then I would never USE them! Why not? Fear.

Wait, she’s AFRAID of using paper? Really?

Yes. Well, not afraid of using it so much as afraid of using it for something and either messing it up, or realizing later I could have used it for something better. So instead I used it for nothing.

Somehow the logic almost makes sense. No, wait, it doesn’t.

Crap.

There’s about 4 sermons that I could probably write from this. But I’m not really in a sermon-writing mood, so let me give you my point:

God likes to give us gifts. But if we hold onto everything He gives us, there won’t be room for Him to give us more. We must spend in order to get a return. We must give in order to receive. 

Think about the girl selling sea shells. If she never emptied her basket full of shells, she either wouldn’t have room for new ones, or she’d end up piling them up so high that the bottom ones broke from the weight. Plus, she wouldn’t make any money. And we wouldn’t have the tongue-twister.

And no one would want that.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. callmecate permalink
    July 26, 2011 7:46 am

    I can completely relate to the idea of procuring items such as supplies and notebooks with great dreams for their use – only to not want to mess them up. I have the most beautiful stationary and journals and I’m terrified of ruining them with my lousy penmanship or something not ‘special’ enough.

    It’s wasteful and silly and kind of pathetic all at the same time so I’m working to overcome it.

    Also, that’s the best telling of the parable of the talents I’ve ever heard. If church could be more like that, maybe more people would be inclined to attend!

    • July 27, 2011 6:44 am

      Thanks Cate! I think sometimes a dose of sarcasm makes any story better, doesn’t it? 🙂

      And use that stationery, girl!

  2. July 26, 2011 9:31 am

    Don’t you love it when you click over to read a blog post, and it turns out to be one that you really needed to read? Glad I stopped by today. I needed to read this.

    • July 27, 2011 6:43 am

      Yay! That is the best. I’m honored that my post was able to say something you needed to hear! 🙂

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