The Throw Away Gift

by | May 24, 2003 | Freedom, Salvation

We had driven all the way to up to East Point, PEI for the purpose of visiting the most eastern lighthouse on the island. The weather over the past 24 hours hadn’t exactly been cooperative. Though we were given a brief break in the incessant rain, a cool wind gusted across the peninsula and threatening clouds kept the sun in check. Definitely NOT a good day to sunbathe, and the cool temperatures and wind didn’t exactly tempt us to take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean! Was it any wonder the beautiful strip of red sand that stretched as far as we could see to the west of East Point was nearly deserted?

Despite the threatening weather, we decided to take a stroll along this lovely stretch of beach. Even though we couldn’t exactly swim, we enjoyed ourselves by watching the colonies of gulls and seals off the numerous sandbars. My boys combed the water’s edge for shells and sticks, and when my younger son found two pieces of driftwood that looked somewhat like swords, I soon found myself “fencing” with him. When we tired of this game, my worthy opponent then became my faithful guardian against any possible enemy!

Where the sand ended, rocks and tide pools began. Though a bit more slippery, these contained an abundance of shells for the taking, and my guarding generously offered me one of his finds: “This is a neat shell, papa. I want you to have it.”

“Oh!!!” I exclaimed. “It’s beautiful! Thank you!”

I don’t know much about conchology, but even I could tell this was an amazing shell. As I scrutinized it carefully, I noticed that on one side it looked like an ordinary oyster, but the other side seemed to be made out of concrete. It was as flat as a pancake, and there was no opening to be found anywhere. In fact, the concrete-like substance seemed to completely fill the ordinary shell cavity. Very unusual! And without giving it any further thought, I added it to the shell collection in my zippered brown bag.

Two weeks later, when we unpacked our van at home, we noticed an unusual smell.

“Something stinks,” offered my wife, “but I don’t know where it’s coming from!”

I didn’t know either, and having other things to do, I decided to ignore it. My brown zippered bag was placed in the living room until such a time that it could conveniently be unpacked. But when a foul odor permeated the entire house the next day, all other pursuits were abandoned and the search began. I quickly narrowed the possible sources down to the brown zippered bag, and sure enough, once unzipped, the odor became nauseating. I didn’t need my wife’s insistence to “take that out of the house right now!” I was already on my way to the back door!

There were a multitude of various shells in the bag. In fact, I was a bit surprised at how many I had managed to collect! And as I spilled them one by one onto the patio table, I smelled each one of them. But it didn’t do any good. They ALL smelled the same: FOUL! Only one shell seemed to have a slightly more profound odor: the unusual oyster shell given to my by my “protector” at East Point beach! What could be wrong with this particular shell? After all, it had been “cemented” shut!

Closer observation, however, made me aware that the shell was no longer closed! Only then did I realize that the “concrete” side was really the lower half of the shellfish! And inside I discovered a dead, smelly, slimy-well, you get the picture . . .

I was stricken with remorse. I had murdered a sea-creature without even knowing it, and I wasn’t sure what to do. Because it had been a gift from my son, I wanted to keep it; but if I brought it back inside, my house would soon smell like a morgue, and I was pretty sure that my wife might find this grounds for divorce! So I decided to provide the poor creature with an appropriate burial, and I placed it into a garbage can. That particular garbage can soon found itself sitting outside, however. I wonder why???

What had once been a prize possession turned into a foul-smelling, dead creature. Its beauty had turned into something only good for the garbage. Too often we are attracted to objects that are deadly to us. Sinful lusts of any kind lead to addictions and eventually to eternal death: “For the wages of sin is death.” (Rom 6:23 NIV)

“But EVERYONE does it!” You say. “How can it hurt me if I do it just once? No one will ever know!”

The truth is that anything (or anyone!) that motivates you to be independent from God will lead you to self-destruction. Sin is addictive and deadly. We have ALL experienced this, and many of us still find ourselves hopeless and desperately ensnared by its vice-like grip. Sin may be attractive at first, but one soon discovers that there is a hefty price attached to it! “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23 NIV)

The only way out of this stinky death-trap is to accept the greatest sacrifice that ever happened on our planet: Jesus dying for the unjust, so that any who accepted His sacrifice might live. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8 NIV); and “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.” (Eph 2:4-5 NIV)

Jesus’ resurrection guarantees you freedom from your addictions, from your sinful patterns and habits. He paid the price for your sin in order to free you from them. The greatest gift possible has been offered to you. What will you do with it?

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV)

Jesus’ gift is a gift that will last forever. Will you accept it?

Rob Chaffart


The Throw Away Gift