Take, for instance, the year I received a slightly used candle for my birthday. I loved it so much that I put all of my other candles away and used it until it was completely gone. I’m not sure why I came to value it so highly.
It would have been easy to be offended. I could have seen the candle as a halfhearted gift. I could have decided that it meant that I wasn’t good enough for anything new, or that I was just an after thought. I could have felt like I didn’t rank high enough in friendship to warrant a little more effort than just grabbing and bagging something to call it a gift.
Instead, I recognized that my friend had been overwhelmed with her family for several months and that my birthday fell right in the middle of all of it. I honestly hadn’t expected her to remember at all, because I hadn’t been reminding anyone or dropping hints. She had given me something that she enjoyed, so there was, on some level, a bit of sacrifice in giving the gift. She also included an explanation of why she enjoyed the candle so much, so that every time I used it, I felt a little connection to her.
As I pause and remember this sweet gift, I have to wonder how many “slightly used candles” I have overlooked or even disdained in my life. In my quest for good, better, and best, have I left brothers and sisters in the gospel feeling inadequate because I failed to recognize the effort and sincerity of their efforts? Did I doubt the benefit instead of giving the benefit of the doubt? Have I done this spiritually, and refused to see the blessings and miracles in my life because they didn’t measure up to what I wanted?
Something to think about….