I passed a fisherman on the beach this morning. He’s just landed a fish, and asked me if it was a pompano. I laughingly explained he’d asked the wrong person to identify a fish since I know so little about them. I only recognize the word ‘tuna’ on a can! Then the fisherman went to his tackle box and handed me a very small but perfect sand dollar. “Here,” he said, “perhaps you’d like to keep this.” I thanked him and said I would value the shell. And so I do. Like the poor woman who gave her mite to the alms box, he had given me the finest shell he’d found. I have far larger and whiter sand dollars, I have shells I’ve collected with friend by my side, and shells that have special meaning because of what was in my heart when I found them, but this shell has a special place. It was a gift from a stranger representing the best of what he had. I know that often I hoard the best of what I have, giving away second best, even to God. Forgive me, Lord, when I offer you gifts that are marked down. Please help me learn a lesson from this stranger who gave the best he had to offer. Amen.

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