The red pen that so thrilled our grandson Jackson costs about fifteen cents when purchased in bulk. It was worth far more to him, however, because his grandmother gave it to him, and because childrens' value systems allow them to appreciate things adults take for granted.
Consider, for example, how valued an inexpensive ball point pen would have been by writers of the Middle Ages. A neat, efficient, and continuously writing instrument would have been considered almost miraculous, and cherished as a precious thing. In our day, it's a throw away item at the first hint of failing to perform as we expect, and replaced by another pen from the same package without a thought.
It is very difficult to appreciate things in a generation of such innovation, technology, and abundance. Sometimes when I'm taking out the garbage, I am tempted to grumble until I remember that the throwaways I am discarding represent the fact of how bountifully God has provided. A banana peel speaks of a banana, an empty milk carton recalls the milk, and trash is the remnant of treasure. Such remembrance makes taking out the garbage an act of appreciation and worship if we are thinking rightly, that is, if we remember that "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17).
Jackson reminds us that small gifts are gifts nonetheless, and when we consider that God supplies all our need "by Christ Jesus," the truth of the matter is that there are no small gifts. Apart from the person and work of our Savior, God could impart only wrath and rejection to the human race. By the Lord Jesus, however, saving grace is imparted to those who believe, and even unbelievers are in this present life the beneficiaries of the Father who "maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Our Lord's sacrifice of Himself makes such grace possible, and magnifies even the seemingly smallest bestowal of God into a rare and precious thing (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 5:45).
Our next breath will be a gift of the God who "giveth to all life and breath and all things." It will have been purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus. And if we follow Jackson's example, we will appreciate this "red pen" that is actually something far more precious and valuable (Acts 17:25).
"The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing."