Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: New Year (05/09/05)
- TITLE: An Old Man's Regret
By chuck Proctor
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I was in a soft white robe, an unusual attire for an old guy like me, standing in a very long line. The line snaked back and forth so I could not see far ahead, but I knew where I was anyway. Every one of us was dressed the same, a white robe, nothing else. And though the hall was an enormous marble structure, I wasn’t cold. The marble underfoot felt warm, just warm enough. Up at the front of the line, far away, I could hear the King’s voice occasionally. It was deep and re-assuring, and often accompanied by a hearty laugh. Over the tops of the heads before me, I could just make out the top of a crown moving around. On this special day, we were lined up to deliver our gifts to the King. One by one we would step up and hand up our gift, and He was delighted with each and every one.
I looked down at the tiny gift I was holding. Somehow, I had expected it would be more impressive, but now I realized the truth: it was really tiny. A lifetime to work, and this is all there is? A little obedience as a child, nothing as a young adult, a bit more as my children grew and I had learned to obey again. But much of what I had thought would count, didn’t. There were only occasional contributions from my years as a Sunday school teacher, and almost nothing from when I was part of an Elder board at my church. All that ‘I’ did, never made it into the gift, only what was done by Him through my obedience. It seemed strange that the only acceptable gift was what He Himself had actually provided.
As I looked at it, realizing how little it was, I felt the tears form. How had I wasted so much time? So many years? How could I offer this pathetic little thing. Oh, I knew that when my turn came and I offered up the gift, it would be accepted with delight. Not because of its size, but because I am His child and He loves me. It would be the same as when I was three years old and offered up a clumsily picked dandelion to my mother. His smile and words would be like hers—delighted in my desire to return an unconditional, all encompassing love. I knew I was secure in His love. But the gift was still small. My tears came, and then I suddenly thought: “Hey, wait a minute—this can’t be ‘heaven’! I’m not supposed to be crying in ‘heaven’!”
Just then I woke up. Back to reality, back on planet earth. But now I can do something about that gift! Even for an old guy like me, it’s a new day, it’s a new year!
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