Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Basket and the Salt Shaker

What I learned from the egg that wouldn’t be found.

When I was seven, my father ventured out into the backyard on a warm Easter afternoon with a basket of eggs in one hand and a salt shaker in the other. I stayed in the house while he hid the eggs. When he returned with the empty basket, I knew it was time for the hunt.

“There are twenty-four eggs,” my mother told me. “Make sure you find them all. We don’t want to leave an egg to rot back there.”

I took the empty basket and enjoyed my search for the pink, yellow, blue, and orange eggs strategically placed in bushes, behind rocks, under lawn chairs, and in the thick grass along the bottom of the chain-link fence. I smiled over each discovery until I had collected in my basket…twenty-three eggs. Then I hunted some more. A little while longer. The Florida sun was beating down on me by this time and I began to get frustrated. At last my father said, “Forget the missing egg. It’ll be fine. Let’s go in the house.”

The next Easter, events occurred pretty much the same. Another year went by, and by now I was paying closer attention to the grin on my father’s face when he went out the door with a basket of eggs and a salt shaker. Why did he need salt to hide the eggs?

I was a little taller and a little smarter. The eggs were hidden higher in the branches and with a more tactical method that made them harder to find. But I did it. I found…twenty-three eggs. And then I realized what happened to that traditionally lost-forever egg. While he was hiding the rest, my father peeled one egg, seasoned it with salt, and ate it. Needless to say, the game was over between us. I had him figured out.

But the game taught me something about life. As I grew up I realized there was always something missing. Always an unfulfilled goal. I never quite got there—never found the last egg. Maybe it’s the same for everyone. I guess that’s what keeps us moving forward. The things we collect along the way—prizes to count as victories—don’t satisfy us because there is always one more out there and we can’t attain it.

The greater prize—the egg I couldn’t find—was right where it belonged. In the hands of my father, seasoned with salt, and ready to serve its purpose. And so I learned another lesson—a better one. I am not missing anything. What I need is in the hands of my Heavenly Father. What I desire is to be seasoned and ready to serve Him. A simple game—a childhood mystery—taught me about life. I guess that’s what games are for.

So this Easter, while you’re hiding or hunting, remember the lessons of the missing egg. But first and foremost, remember the missing Redeemer. No doubt, fear and frustration abounded that Sunday morning when the body of Jesus couldn't be found. The sealed tomb was opened. The burial shroud lay folded
and empty. But all was well. This was no game—it was the definitive conquest for all eternity. And Death went down defeated. Jesus would soon appear to those desperately hoping to find Him. He is the greatest prize of all. The only treasure worth searching for is the gift from the Father given to redeem your soul. If you haven’t yet found Him, don’t look in the grave. He is risen.

He is risen indeed!

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