Written by Deb del Villar, Director of Communications
Have you ever been on a treasure hunt?
I haven’t ever followed an authentic treasure map with an “X” marking the spot to a chest filled with jewels. Yet, I have experienced treasure hunting!
Every summer during childhood we went to Long Beach Island in New Jersey because my grandparents had a home there. I loved beachcombing, finding, and collecting the varied treasures the ocean had to offer.
As an adult, I have found something that is as enjoyable to me as those summer days of beachcombing. During visits to see my dad on the west coast of Florida, he taught us how to collect sharks’ teeth. The best time to find shark teeth is after a storm where the ocean floor has been violently tossed and turned up.
There is a tool called the Florida snow shovel that allows you to scoop up a good quantity of ocean floor debris. I like to scoop right beyond where the waves crash on the shoreline. It is where the sand starts to go down and the water level gets deeper. The shells and shark teeth accumulate in this depression.
I will wade into the water until I reach that depression or drop off. I run the shovel along the depression edge gathering as much as I can. Next, I leave the water and go up onto the shoreline to dump out the shovel’s contents.
Taking my time, I sift through the broken shells, whole shells, seaweed, as well as various odds and ends that came from who knows where. Every so many shovelfuls, I usually find a treasure. It could be a complete shell full of beautiful colors or a unique shape, or it could be the coveted shark tooth.
I have a jar that holds my collection of shark teeth; from all different types of sharks as well as different sizes and colors. The shark teeth get darker the longer they are in the ocean. I collect chipped or broken shark teeth too. All have a place in the jar. Each trip brings back more to add to the jar.
I am not the only one on the beach collecting the teeth. It is fun and rewarding to share your find with others who are also seeking, searching, and gathering. You can hear the cries of glee and excitement as a new treasure seeker finds their first tooth.
Whether young or old, new or veteran, one thing is common to all – the thrill of the find.
While at times, interest may wane if none are found; most often, I am spurred on to try one more time. This leads to one more time, and so it goes until I realize the sun is setting. It is time to pack up until the next time.
May I switch our minds to thinking how treasure hunting for shark teeth could teach us something about reaching our grandkids?
Matthew 6:21 tells us “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” My heart is all about making sure my grandchildren know Jesus, a true treasure.
Often the best time – the most open time – is when a storm has come into their lives. Their lives may have just been turned upside down and inside out. Help them as they search and seek answers.
Be willing to spend time.
It takes time to find shark teeth. So it is with discipling your grandchildren about Jesus so they will find Him.
Be available to spend time with your grandkids. Whether they are near or far, be creative in finding ways to spend time together. Just think of things you love to do then share them with your grandchildren.
I have passed on my love of beachcombing and shark hunting to our grandkids. I have also passed on my love of reading, playing card and board games, journaling, and studying God’s Word. These times of building a relationship with them may offer opportunities to share Jesus with them.
Just as the tide ebbs and flows, our discipleship of our grandchildren may do the same. You may have been more intentional in the past and have fallen away from being so purposeful. Just start again.
Does your relationship have chips or brokenness leading you to think you cannot disciple your grandchildren? Stay at it, do not give up. Keep working on it. Remember to seek and ask for forgiveness where appropriate and to give out grace where needed. Ask and allow God to do His mighty work.
Maybe the waves of life have come and knocked you down too – get back up. It could be that this next time, you will find just the right thing that will lead to a treasured relationship. As a grandparent, we need to show it is worth trying again and again. Do not give up – good things await those who persevere.
God may use this growing or restored relationship to lead your grandchildren to the treasure – Jesus.
Find something good.
While shark tooth hunting, I keep my eyes on the treasure of the shark tooth. I move the debris of broken shells, cigarette butts, bottle tops, seaweed, plant pods, and various other things to discover the hidden shark tooth. It is worth the effort and numerous trips back to the ocean.
Some grandchildren have a lot of debris in their life that has to be sifted through before you can reach their hearts and share the treasure of Jesus. Do not allow that stuff to keep you from trying again and again and again. It takes deliberate, ongoing, purposeful activity, but it is so worth it. Be on the lookout for that opportunity – that good time – to share. If this is not the day, maybe next time.
There is nothing like the thrill of a grandchild coming to faith in Christ. It is indeed something that you will want to experience again and again as each grandchild comes to faith. It is something you cannot wait to share with family and friends. I have loved each time a grandchild called to tell me the news!
Just as each shark tooth is added to the jar, so there is always room for one more grandchild in the family. Some may come broken or chipped but are still welcome to join all the others. They have a place.
Each grandchild is a gift from God who only gives good gifts. They are special to us – a treasure from God Himself.
Celebrate and share with others.
The grandchildren love to look at the shark teeth that have been collected through the years. Their parents share the stories of how they found them, especially the megatooth our son found as an eight-year-old.
Now they get to add their treasures of teeth to the ones of their parents. Who knows if the Lord tarries, maybe their children will add to the jar as well.
May the stories be passed on as well not forgetting the most important of all stories – the Creator who made not only the sharks but them. My prayer is that above all, they seek the Lord and His righteousness over any shark teeth or other treasure.
Nothing compares with the treasure of finding and knowing Him.