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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Humility: lessons from a box of chocolates

Some people say life is like a box of chocolates. I don’t remember why they think so, so I don’t know if I agree with them. But in any case, recently God used a box of chocolates to teach me a lesson which perhaps would have been hard to teach me in any other way.

Someone gave me a box of chocolates for Christmas. I received the present on New Years Day. It was so beautifully wrapped that it took me nearly a week to carefully ruin the wrapping by opening it. The bow and wrapping paper still rest on my bookcase. I think they are too pretty to toss.

It took me a few more days to eat the first chocolate. This is when I discovered they weren’t just any chocolates. They weren’t Hershey’s or Russell Stover’s, but they were something really good. As I did my best to adequately savor what was a true delicacy, I thought, “These are too good to eat.” I began to try to figure out what else I could do with them. Who could I give them to? Perhaps I could feed them to my dinner group as dessert the next time I hosted, but the person who gave them to me is in my dinner group. Would she be hurt I was giving away what she gave me? Would she think I didn’t like them?

Within a few days, I had a few other interactions with life. I realized there were other things in my life that I was treating just like the box of chocolates. God was trying to give me something good, and I was refusing it. Something that good simply couldn’t be for me. As I realized this, I believe God told me in my heart, “Laura, you are simply too proud to accept some of the good things I want to give you.”

Because, you see, it is not that I don’t like good food or good clothes or good jobs or good friends, but I want to have earned them. I didn’t earn the chocolates. I am not at an income level where I would dream of buying something so expensive for myself or even have the ability to buy such a thing for another. It wasn’t that I thought the chocolates were too good for me; I was too good for the chocolates. Pride said, “Do not accept charity.” The chocolates felt like charity. They were something I could never earn – as were most definitely the other things God had pointed out in my life.

One of the most profound things a friend has ever said to me is this, “I used to think I was tough. Now I know I was proud.” It has always stuck with me because it so accurately describes my spiritual journey over the last twelve years. I used to think I was tough, independent, strong, hardworking… Now I know I was proud.

As I continued to contemplate my dilemma, I considered that accepting grace takes a great deal of humility. The box of chocolates reminded me of just such a thing. I hadn’t earned them, and there was no way I could do so. Yet they had been given to me with joy by someone who was eager to love me. The righteous response would be for me to accept the gift humbly and enjoy it extravagantly. The righteous response would be for me to glory in the generosity of the giver and be awed by their love for me.

This isn’t just what I think a righteous response to a box of chocolates would be. It is also what I think is the right way to respond to God’s grace. I never earned it. I never can. Romans 11 says all things are “from Him and through Him and for Him.” I wouldn’t exist outside of Him. He created me, died for me, came to life for me, pursued me and came to live inside of me. He is my entire existence. As Romans 11 also says, “Who has ever given to God that God should repay them?”

Over the last few weeks, I have started to pray that God would help me become humble enough to accept the good gifts He wants to give me. It has been quite an endeavor. Until about an hour ago, I had no idea when I would be brave enough to eat that second chocolate. It seemed like it would be a huge accomplishment for me to truly enjoy such a good gift. But as I walked into the kitchen right before writing this article, I saw the box. I spontaneously thought, “Hey, I want to eat one of those!”

So I have been carefully relishing this delicious morsel over the last half hour as I write. (Yes, I can make it last for at least twenty bites!) Every good and perfect gift is from above, and He sent this one sideways through one of His people.

Do you accept God’s gifts humbly or do you try to earn them? Are you able to enjoy in your life what you know very well you did not earn? Or do you constantly feel guilty that you did not earn it? Would you consider humbly accepting His grace today?

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