One of my favorite memories from childhood was the occasional shopping trip with my Mom. It wasn’t the shopping. It wasn’t being with Mom, although I loved being with my Mom. (Hey, I was and still am a Momma’s Boy – no shame here!) My favorite memory was the candy and nuts on display as we entered the Sears store. The lights perfectly shining on those little treasures. The intoxicating smell of fresh roasted nuts. That beautiful display in all its glory, arrested my complete attention. And with a firm grip on my hand, Mom walked right on by like it didn’t exist!
But there was always hope. We had to go out the way we came in. My Dad loved nuts and my Mom loved Dad. The torture of waiting was almost worth the last stop of the shopping trip. We would get Dad some fresh roasted nuts, usually cashews, and I knew Dad would share some with me when we got home.
There was something awesome about sitting with Dad and eating some of his cashews. It was like sitting with a king and enjoying an exclusive treat! To this day nuts are one of my favorite snacks, especially pistachios.
Did you know there is a story in the Bible about pistachios? These little treasures brought reconciliation and healing to a broken family (you can read the entire story in Genesis 37-45). A man named Jacob told his sons “…Pack your bags with the best products of this land. Take them down to the man as gifts – balm, honey, gum, aromatic resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds” (Genesis 43:11 NLT).
As I read this story, I realized the pistachio nut was one of the “best products of the land.” Jacob, the father, didn’t offer what was good… or what was better… he offered the best. That best offering reunited a broken family, saved lives, and brought healing to what seemed like an impossible situation.
The word “best” means “the highest quality of excellence that can be found in a given activity or thing.” The words “good” and “better” are comparisons – they are dependent on the value of something else. Standing alone, good and better have no value! I’m learning that trying to be good or better is not only hard, it’s impossible! When we attempt to be “good” or “better” we are comparing ourselves to a standard that is always moving and one that we can never achieve.
So, what do we do? Live in frustration, reaching for a goal that is always elusive and unattainable? That’s nuts! We just need to work at being the “best” we can be. It is freeing knowing that I don’t have to compare myself to anyone or anything. God simply wants me to be the “best” version of me.
And that is a goal I can reach!