I came across an old legend about three cowboys crossing the desert on horseback by night. Suddenly, as they reached a rocky spot, a voice came from heaven and commanded them: "Friends, pick up some pebbles, put them in your pockets and do not look at them till morning." The men looked at each other in astonishment and began to do as they were told. The voice went on to promise that if they obeyed, they would be both glad and sad. The perplexed men put a few pebbles each in their pockets and went on their way. As the very first sign of dawn arrived, the cowboys pulled out their pebbles. To their amazement, the ordinary pebbles they had picked up the night before, had all been transformed into diamonds, rubies, and other precious gems. At that moment, they realized the significance of the promise that they would be both glad and sad. They were happy to see their beautiful treasure, but sorry -- oh so sorry -- that they had not collected more.
All of us were once ordinary looking pebbles -- shabby, discolored pebbles among many others of the like -- seemingly nothing special. But we were so mercifully picked out of the dust and gently placed for safekeeping into the pocket of the faithful saints who loved us or prayed for us or shared the Gospel with us and took us along on their journey. And God continues to refine us that we would become precious gems when morning comes. Thank God for His great mercy!
It is yet dark -- and the pebbles are many. We still have a little more time to pocket as many as we can. But morning is drawing near! We don't want to regret that we didn't get more! (George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah)