Never mind that it was a cold November day, the grandkids wanted to play by the river’s edge in front of our mountain cabin rental. The oldest, Haven, socialized with her cousins while Jensen, the youngest and all boy, threw every stone I could provide into the water. Our middle grand, Jovie, was quietly retrieving little stones from the mud, which quickly filled her small hand. Not surprised, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to hear her say, “Peeps, this is for you.” She handed me a tiny black pebble that was coated with cold, wet dirt. It was sufficient reason to give her another hug as I said, “That is so nice, doll. Peeps will keep this pebble from now on.” I cleaned the dirt away, dried it and placed it deep in my pocket. To avoid losing it, I soon put it in a miniature zip top bag. For over three months now, I’ve had a pebble in my pocket. As long as I have a choice, that is where it will remain. Whenever she is near, I make a point to take the pebble from my pocket and say, “Jovie, look what I have.” Her smile lets me know that keeping that pebble is the right thing to do, for her and for me.
There’s two observations I’ve made from this experience. First, we need to be reminded of how important people should be to us. Taken alone, that little black rock is not worth much. It contains no precious metals or minerals. However, the person who gave it to me is priceless, which has made the pebble priceless as well. Every time I reach into my pocket, my thoughts turn toward someone I love beyond words. Though most people we meet will not be able to bestow many things of great value upon us, everyone we meet is valuable. Acknowledging their worth raises the value of their words and deeds toward us. Paul tells us all to “regard one another as more important than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3). Who are the pebbles in your pocket?
It also occurs to me that I am the pebble in God’s pocket. So are you, if you know Christ. Decades ago I gave him my cold black heart, covered with the muck of my human sin. He needed nothing I had to offer, but because He valued me, He took it, cleaned it in the blood of His Son, and placed it deep within Himself (Colossians 3:3). The day will come when someone will remove a little black pebble from my pocket, along with any other meager possessions that remain there. Eternity itself will not disturb the pebble that I am in God’s pocket, for I am part of Him forever (Romans 8:38-39).
What will my grandchildren teach me next?