i remember when i was about 10 years old my cousins came up for easter. it’s one of my most vivid memories. my parents decided to take us all out to easter brunch at a local resort, which for our family was a very big deal, we were pushing it to say we were 'middle class'. the resort had set up one of their conference rooms as an easter egg hunt for the kids. i remember the excitement we all felt as we could hardly eat the food placed in front of us that day.
when we were finally excused from the table, we lined up outside the door as we were given instructions. “only one egg each, you can stay in the room as long as you want, but you can only come out with one egg, remember, there is only one golden egg, and the person that brings out that egg wins the prize.”
the room was dark, it had lots of stacking convention chairs and tables in it, great places to hide eggs, especially since we could only feel around with our hands. we were pirates, searching for booty, each of us knowing that we were going to be the one to find that ‘golden egg’ and win the huge easter bunny and basket set at the entrance to the restaurant.
i entered that room feeling like charlie on willie wonka, just knowing i was going to be the one to find that golden ‘ticket.’ we were let into that room, and in the darkness we searched and searched and each found our egg.
i exited the conference room clutching my choice, hoping, praying, wishing my egg to be gold. my eyes hurt from the light of the real world and my hopes fell. i can picture charlie pulling the paper and foil off his wonka bar and seeing the disappointment on his face as his hopes for a bright future were crushed as he realized there was no golden ticket. like charlie’s, my hopes were crushed.
in my 10 short years of life i had never wanted anything more.
that easter basket represented wealth, success and good fortune to me. none of which i suspected i would ever have in my life. i grew up in one of the wealthiest tourist destinations in the midwest. i knew the difference between the ‘have's’ and the ‘have-nots’ - we were the have-nots. this loss just confirmed that for me, it ingrained my deepest fears way down into my soul; etching the word ‘loser’ into my brain. convincing me that others were always going to get my golden egg, and that there were never going to be enough golden eggs to go around.
i feel that way in the kingdom of god many times too. my life has been one big easter egg hunt for a ministry. i don’t know how many times i’ve exited that room with a crummy plastic egg filled six rotten jelly beans while others (mostly men) got the gold egg.
this past year has been a reconfirmation of my hunt, a reconfirmation of my call, that god has something for me that is just for me, the purpose of my life, the culmination of my past and the destination of my future.
i was speaking with one of the elders at my church recently asking for prayer and guidance as i journey this path, and was so moved as this illustration came to me, and as i voiced it to him all of the emotion of the loss of the “golden egg” filled my voice. he heard me, unlike so many elders in my life, he listened, and processed and connected with our father and blessed me with these words of wisdom.
“bobbie, there is a golden egg out there that you should keep looking for. god has given you the gifts of listening and counseling and he has a ministry for you. but on your search for that ‘golden egg’ don’t forget to pick up those other eggs you find. the people along the way that need to be heard, that need your ministry. that are crying out to be placed in your basket as you travel on your search for that golden egg.”
i could weep now in remembrance of that conversation. so many times i think it’s got to be about that ‘big ministry’ that i miss all of the opportunities i have along the way. it is a beautiful picture. the thought that anyone would want to be ‘placed in my basket’ is almost shocking to me, but i love the comforting picture that story tells.
i have a basket, i have a hunt, where it will lead, and if i ever find that golden egg isn’t the most important thing anymore. how i fill it along the way is. god help me to fill my basket and not miss any opportunities i may have to minister today.