Monday, December 10, 2007

Understanding Your Value

The following is a story by Eckhart Tolle that I think illustrates our intrinsic value:

A beggar had been sitting by the side of the road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. “Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his old
baseball cap. “I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger. Then he asked: “What’s that you are sitting on?” “Nothing,” replied the beggar. “Just an old box. I have been
sitting on it for as long as I can remember.” “Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger. “No,” said the beggar. “What’s the point? There’s nothing there.” “Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation,
he saw that the box was filled with gold.

We have everything we need to walk favor-minded and do great things with our life. It's all INSIDE! My granddaughter is about ready to see what is inside her Christmas package in this picture. Let's see what is inside us! I bet we will find pure gold b/c God created us.


Patty said...

Joel says in this chapter that we can't be "so focused on our faults that we cease to enjoy who God made us to be. You've got to be happy with who you are right now and accept yourself, faults and all.....understand your intrinsic are a child of the Most High may not be perfect--nobody is...but to be truly free, you must have a healthy respect for yourself." This way of living is powerful. You become stronger as you accept and honor all parts of yourself and all aspects of your experience and learn from them. You start treating yourself with immense respect, as a resilient person who can take on new challenges. Rather than shrinking from the tasks before you and ignoring your feelings, you courageously step into the situations ahead. What a way to live! When you know your value, everyone else will begin to see it too and respond to you in a different, more respectful way.

Frank said...

Below is the link to our Christmas website. I probably sent it to all of you in email, but just in case, here it is:

Merry Christmas!

Patty said...

I think to truly understand your value, you need to stand up for yourself and stand firm in your beliefs. For example, I know that to attain and maintain the perfect weight, I have to make sure I eat nourishing food and get activity into my day. I have to make sure my needs are met. Tonight is Friday night, and I came home tired. I was hungry too. I ate inappropriate food. I'm not going to feel guilty about it though. Instead I'm going to remember the good things I did today. For instance, I did take time to exercise today at school with the first graders. Even though I do need to be more assertive to myself about my need to eat right, drink lots of water, and get activity, I know that I can begin anew right now. I don't have to wait until Monday to get back on track. I can do it right now. I need to say "no" to food that will put me over my daily limit of food that I can eat and still maintain a perfect weight for myself. Even though I am over my points target for today, I won't eat anymore tonight. In the morning I will be right back on track. "Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today." Exodus 14:13. "My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfill my intentions." Isaiah 46:10. When I truly understand my value, I will take care of myself and make time for myself no matter what.

Patty said...

It's one week before Christmas, and I think THE TALE OF THREE TREES retold in this chapter is very timely for the season so I'm going to put it on our blog.

"This fictitious children's book relates the lofty aspirations of an olive tree, an oak tree, and a pine tree. each of these trees had a great dream of becoming something special in life. The olive tree dreamed of becoming a finely crafted treasure chest. It wanted to hold god, silver, and precious jewels. One day a woodsman chose the one olive tree, out of all the trees in the forest, and cut it down. The olive tree was so thrilled. But as the craftsmen began working on him, the tree realized they weren't making him into a beautiful treasure chest; they were making him into a manger to hold food for dirty, smelly animals. Heartbroken, his dreams were shattered. He felt worthless and demeaned. Similiarly, the oak tree dreamed of becoming part of a huge ship that would carry important kings across the ocean. When the woodsman cut down the oak, he was so excited. But as time went on, he realized the craftsmen weren't making him into a huge ship. They were making him into a tiny fishing boat. He was so discouraged, so disappointed. The pine tree lived on top of a high mountain. Its only dream was to stand tall and remind people of God's great creation. But in a split second, a bolt of lightning sent it tumbling to the ground, destroying its dreams. The woodsman came and picked it up and carried it off to the scrap pile. All three of these trees felt they had lost their value and their worth; they were so discouraged, so disappointed. Not one of their dreams had come to pass. But God had other plans for these trees. Many years later, Mary and Joseph couldn't find any place to give birth to their little baby boy. They finally found a stable, and when Jesus was born they placed him in a manger made from---you guessed it---the olive tree. The olive tree had wanted to hold precious jewels, but God had other plans, and it now held the greatest treasure of all time, the Son of God. A few years went by and Jesus grew up. One day he needed a boat to cross to the other side of the lake. He didn't choose a large, fancy ship; He chose a small, simple fishing boat made from---you guessed it---the oak tree. The oak tree now carried the King of kings. A few more years went by, and one day some Roman soldiers were rummaging around in the pile of scrap wood where the discarded pine tree lay. That pine tree just knew they were coming to cut him up for firewood. But much to its surprise, they cut only two small pieces out of it and formed them into a cross. And it was on this pine tree that Jesus was crucified. That tree is still pointing people to God's love and God's compassion in this day. The point of this classic story is clear: All three trees thought they had lost their value, that their stories were over, yet they became integral parts of the greatest story ever told."

Patty said...

Here's another nice Christmas story that illustrates how valuable a father's gift is to his little girl. I especially like the third paragraph.

SIMPLE WOODEN BOXES by Martha Pendergrass Templeton

"I suppose everyone has a particular childhood Christmas that stands out more than any other. For me, it was the year that the Burlington factory in Scottsboro closed down. I was only a small child. I could not name for you the precise year; it is an insignificant blur in my mind, but the events of that Christmas will live forever in my heart.

My father, who had been employed at Burlington, never let on to us that we were having financial difficulties. After all, children live in a naive world in which money and jobs are nothing more than jabberwocky; and for us, the excitement of Christmas could never be squelched. We knew only that our daddy, who usually worked long, difficult hours, was now home more than we had ever remembered; each day seemed to be a holiday.

Faith is connected to hope and hope means believing in spite of the evidence and then watching the evidence change.

Mama, a homemaker, now sought work in the local textile mills, but jobs were scarce. Time after time, she was told no openings were available before Christmas, and it was on the way home from one such distressing interview that she wrecked our only car. Daddy’s meager unemployment check would now be our family’s only source of income. For my parents, the Christmas season brought mounds of worries, crowds of sighs and tears, and cascades of prayers.

I can only imagine what transpired between my parents during that time. I don’t know for sure how they managed, but somehow they did. They made sure they scraped together enough money to buy each of us a Barbie doll. For the rest of our presents, they would rely on their talents, using scraps of materials they already had.

While dark, calloused hands sawed, hammered and painted, nimble fingers fed dress after dress after dress into the sewing machine. Barbie-sized bridal gowns, evening gowns . . . miniature clothes for every imaginable occasion pushed forward from the rattling old machine. Where we were while all of this was taking place, I have no idea. But somehow my parents found time to pour themselves into our gifts, and the excitement of Christmas was once again born for the entire family.

That Christmas Eve, the sun was just setting over the distant horizon when I heard the roar of an unexpected motor in the driveway. Looking outside, I could hardly believe my eyes. Aunt Charlene and Uncle Buck, Mama’s sister and her husband, had driven all the way from Georgia to surprise us. Packed tightly in their car, as though no air was needed, sat my three cousins, my Aunt Dean, who refused to be called “Aunt,” and both my grandparents. I also couldn’t help but notice innumerable gifts for all of us, all neatly packaged and tied with beautiful bows. They had known that it would be a difficult Christmas, and they had come to help.

The next morning we awoke to more gifts than I ever could have imagined. And, though I don’t have one specific memory of what any of the toys were, I know that there were mountains of them.

And it was there, amidst all that jubilation, that Daddy decided not to give us his gifts. With all the toys we had gotten, there was no reason to give us the dollhouses that he had made. They were rustic and simple red boxes, after all. Certainly not as good as the store-bought gifts that Mama’s family had brought. The music of laughter filled the morning, and we never suspected that, hidden somewhere, we each had another gift.

When Mama asked Daddy about the gifts, he confided his feelings, but she insisted he give us our gifts. And so, late that afternoon, after all of the guests had gone, Daddy reluctantly brought his gifts of love to the living room.

Wooden boxes. Wooden boxes painted red, with hinged lids, so that each side could be opened and used as a house. On either side was a compartment just big enough to store a Barbie doll, and all the way across, a rack on which to hang our Barbie clothes. On the outside was a handle, so that when it was closed, held by a magnet that looked remarkably like an equal sign, the house could be carried suitcase style. And, though I don’t really remember any of the other gifts I got that day, those boxes are indelibly etched into my mind. I remember the texture of the wood, the exact shade of red paint, the way the pull of the magnet felt when I closed the lid, the time-darkened handles and hinges. I remember how the clothes hung delicately on the hangers inside, and how I had to be careful not to pull Barbie’s hair when I closed the lid. I remember everything that is possibly rememberable, because we kept and cherished those boxes long after our Barbie doll days were over.

I have lived and loved twenty-nine Christmases, each new and fresh with an air of excitement all its own. Each filled with love and hope. Each bringing gifts, cherished and longed for. But few of those gifts compare with those simple wooden boxes. So it is no wonder that I get teary-eyed when I think of my father, standing there on that cold Christmas morning, wondering if his gift was good enough.

Love, Daddy, is always good enough."

Martha said...

Hi Patty!

Thanks for sharing my story, as well as your encouragement for others. Do note, however, that the third paragraph is not actually a part of the original story. It's something someone has added as it was passed around, I guess.

Have a blessed day!

Martha Pendergrass Templeton

Patty said...

Wow!! What an honor to meet you, Martha Pendergrass Templeton! Sorry about the third paragraph! I love this story so much. I think I pasted and copied it from an email so someone evidently added the third paragraph. Anyway, thank you for telling your story. It has no doubt provided inspiration for many people, including me!!