By Stephanie Prichard –
Our front yard gleamed with the gold of dandelions. Gold, as in wealth, great riches, money in our pockets! Or so thought my little brother and I, with all the enthusiasm and optimism of a seven-year-old and a ten-year-old.
“I’ll pay you a penny for each dandelion you pick,” Dad said. “But for each dandelion you don’t pick, you pay me a penny.”
What a deal! What an easy deal! I could hardly believe my father would let go of so much money for such little work. All five of us children had household tasks assigned to us, and each nickel and dime was earned by the sweat of our brows. I had to sweep the stairs, wrestle with my parents’ bed each weekend to put on clean sheets, and either set the table every evening or clear it of dirty dishes.
So, goodness, all I had to do now was pick a hundred dandelions and I’d have far more than the eighty cents I earned with my weekly allowance. The yard was full of dandelions—hundreds and hundreds of them. Even with my brother cashing in on the deal, I’d still get three or four hundred picked.
We dashed into the yard and plucked dandelions right and left with both hands. “One, two, three …” I counted fast to keep up with my plucking. At twenty-five, I ran my handful over to my dad. So did my brother. We giggled as we dropped the flowers at his feet. The counting went slower with the next twenty-five. Even slower with the next two handfuls. My fingernails were green underneath, and my palms were yellow.
“I’m done,” I declared with handful number four.
“Me too.” My brother’s piles looked suspiciously smaller than mine, but what did I care? I was a hundred pennies rich!
“Okay, how many dandelions did you pick?” Dad asked.
I should have been suspicious since the answer was obvious—four piles of twenty-five dandelions per child—but I crowed the answer with glee: “A hundred for each of us! You owe us a hundred pennies apiece. A dollar each!”
“All right,” he said. “Now, how much do you owe me?”
“Turn around and count how many dandelions you didn’t pick. That’s what you owe me. A penny for each dandelion still out there.”
My brother and I burst into tears. We didn’t have to turn around to know that more than two hundred dandelions remained unplucked on the lawn. And we knew our dad—a deal was a deal.
He’d make us follow through with it, and not only would we not get paid for all those dandelions we’d picked, but we’d have to pay him for the ones we hadn’t picked.
And so I learned my first lesson in Contracts 101—one of many memorable life lessons my wise father taught me over the years.
The lesson holds true for spiritual dandelions too. No matter how many weeds we pluck from our lives, there still will be hundreds we haven’t plucked. The Bible calls this “falling short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). That means we are sinners, while God is sinless. It means no matter how hard we try to be good, or how often we succeed, we’re still full of sin. We simply can’t get rid of all those weeds choking our lives. We need help.
That’s what Jesus did—He covered our debt with His allowance. He paid for all those weeds. Now, before our heavenly Father, there simply are no more dandelions to count against us.