Like many little American girls, my Ellie had acquired a large collection of Barbie dolls, clothes, furniture and other accessories. To be honest, it’s the kind of stuff I dreamed of having when I was little. As the parents, I don’t think we purchased one piece of her collection…before leaving the US we had been against the idea of Barbie. (Poor self-image, etc.)
Just before leaving the US, a dear friend gave Ellie her first Barbie doll…and that was just the beginning! In Mexico, another dear friend gave Ellie…well, just about everything a girl could want for her Barbie. There were at least 8 Barbie dolls…with a variety of hair and eye colors. There were 3 Ken dolls, in case the brothers wanted to play too. There were more clothes than a girl could ever wear!
For the last 18 months or so this collection has been a blessing to us in ways we couldn’t have imagined. It provided a starting point for Ellie to invite other little girls from our village to play. She has often given away a doll and a change of clothes to someone who visited our home. I’ve been amazed to watch generosity sprout from my little girl as she gives away her favorite doll.
As Ellie is about to turn 7, she has decided that she’s outgrown her Barbies. (Well, all but the three who now reside under bed in her treasure box.) So, we boxed everything up and took them to a family with 5 daughters and 2 nieces.
I was feeling happy about the “generosity” we were displaying…as well as the fact that we were getting rid of a LOT of toys. (After all, Christmas is almost here and we’ll be giving our kids new toys, right?) As we sat and visited with the families who were receiving the dolls, the kids started pulling out toys and joyfully playing.
But then, two little ones were fighting over Ken! One had a hold of his leg and the other the head! They were yanking and crying. The parents were smiling and nodding. Inside, I was cringing! Aren’t they going to say anything to these kids to stop fighting before they break the toys?!?
And then Ken’s head rolled across the floor.
No matter. Army Man was pulled out next. And the scene was replayed. And again, the parents said nothing. Just smiled.
Inside, I wanted to scream. We just gave these kids toys and they are all about to be pulled apart. Destroyed. Wasted.
I said a silent prayer, giving it all over to God. It was a gift after all and I can’t take it back. And I can’t tell them how to play. I can’t discipline these children.
A few days later, the memory of Ken’s head rolling across the floor came fluttering back to my mind. Only this time, God reminded me of His Gift. His Son. Given for mankind. He was beaten, scourged, spit upon and finally crucified. God didn’t take His Gift back just because the people didn’t receive it appropriately.
As I pondered this illustration, God also reminded me that His Word will not return void. Recently I’ve been discouraged over the work here. We have shared His Story with so many and they enjoy it for a time, but we have yet to see it take root in their hearts. God showed me that I must not grow negligent, but I have to keep sharing the Gift, even if it doesn’t appear that the Gift is being received appropriately.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”