Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Expand (07/18/13)
TITLE: The Treasure Box
By JoAnne Billison
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My boys spotted the treasure box sitting in the center of the kitchen table. Their large beaming eyes gave away their excitement. Anticipation for the annual event soon filled the room.
"Can we open the box now mommy, please, please!"
"Ok, ok! Let’s gather around the table. Who wants to read the first treasure?"
My oldest quickly reached into the box and pulled out a note and read, "Thank you for answering my prayer and giving me a good “word prompt” so I could write a good story for my all day WASL test. And, guess what? I wasn’t nervous taking my test either. YEA!"
More than anything else, I wanted my sons to know Jesus personally. When they were young, I would creatively come up with ways to make God real to them. I hoped to expand their hearts and deepen their walk so they would worship God for the rest of their lives. Our “treasure box” became one of the most creative ways they learned about God’s love.
The box itself wasn’t very special. Truth be told, it was nothing more than a plastic yellow box shaped like a Lego building brick. My focus was not in creating a beautiful box, but building treasures concealed inside the box. It was my hope that the treasures would change my boy’s hearts forever.
Our treasures were actually memories of our experiences with God. Specifically, memories surrounding answered prayer, miraculous help, and surprise blessings. These encounters with God were recorded, dated and put into the box. We collected stories over the course of a year and read them every Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful experience. Pulling out a slip of paper and reading the recorded memory flooded our minds with events long forgotten. Some stories were heard for the first time, giving the listeners a new reason to love our glorious God. When the last note was read, our hearts swelled with joy. The treasure box, now empty, was put back on the shelf and made ready for the next year.
Reading from the treasure box became one of our family’s favorite annual Thanksgiving events. What better time of year to bring thankfulness to the forefront. And, what better way to illustrate the existence of God to growing children, than from their own life stories.
God instructs us to love him with all our hearts, and he tells us to teach our children to do the same. Our encounters with him, whether big or small, provide a great way to obey this command. Where Bible stories give us the big picture of God’s love, our personal stories give a glimpse into the personal side of God’s love. Making God tangible to our children helps them step out in faith and open their hearts to receive him. When my children saw how often God interacted with us over the course of a year, they believed in him more fully. This helped them stay focused on God as they grew.
I had no idea what the outcome would be when I started the “treasure box” in my home, but it certainly exceeded all my expectations. I was amazed at how we began to see the presence of God all around us. Small events that would normally be overlooked and forgotten were recorded and shared. This filled us with peace and hope, and prevented us from saying things like, "where is God in my life", or "I did that all myself". Our stories became yearly reminders that God is our treasure and worthy of our love.
God is with us every day. The treasure box gave my family the means to see that. You could say it helped us expand our hearts to receive more of him in our lives.
Perhaps you or your family could benefit from a treasure box too. Start recording all the little blessings and outcomes that happen after you pray. Put your stories away for a time, then look back and see how God met your needs. I encourage you to share your stories with your family, especially your children. And, don’t forget to thank God for all the ways he is with you.
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