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 my 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 my 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! I guess that’s why I love nuts. They are one of my favorite snacks. I still love cashews, but my nut of choice is the pistachio.
I was recently surprised to see that this little treat is mentioned in the Bible. It was a gift that 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” that could be offered. 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 that seemed impossible!
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? Do we live in frustration, reaching for a goal that is always elusive and unattainable? That’s nuts! We should work at being the “best” we can be! I want to be the “best” Christ follower I am capable of being regardless of what others are doing or where they are in their journey with Christ. God wants me to be the “best” me I can be. And that is a goal I can reach!