What an MP3 player taught me about Easter
I consider selfishness one of my greater weaknesses. My husband tells me he doesn’t think I’m selfish, but he doesn’t realize the battle I fight with myself to prevent my selfish desires from influencing my actions. It is one of those battles that is so daily, and selfLESSness doesn’t always win.
We’re all born with different gifts. And I’ve been extremely fortunate in my life to be surrounded by people who are naturally selfless. My husband, parents, and best friend are all high on that list. But today I want to talk about my brother.
I have four brothers who are all amazing people whom I love dearly. The brother I want to talk about today is the one closest to me in age. We are just a year and a half apart (I was a surprise baby, haha). We will call him M.
Everyone in my family will agree M is the kindest and most amiable of all of us. The one who is easiest to get along with. He’s probably naturally the hardest working, naturally the most humble, and definitely naturally the most selfless of all of us. I say naturally because I do think all of my siblings have learned all of these attributes throughout their lives and are incredible examples of it. But for M all these things have been a part of him from birth.
I consider M one of those most Christlike people I know. And around this Easter season, I am reminded of a precious experience from Easters years ago, a memory I keep treasured in my heart and each spring reminds me what we truly celebrate at Easter time: the ultimate selfless sacrifice of our Savior.
Over a decade ago, before iPhones and itouches, when the nano (I think?) was brand new and all the cool kids had one, I had this little “Creative Zen V” MP3 player that I LOVED. See, it was inexpensive enough that I was able to save up my allowance to buy one, but it was small and sleek in design, with a round button/toggle in the middle that screamed iPod knockoff. Mine had 2GB of storage, which at that time was plenty.
One evening, during volleyball season (yes, I played volleyball in middle school; I was terrible), I was listening to my music on the bus ride to one of our matches. When we arrived we were instructed to leave our backpacks on the bus which would wait for us. After the match, I searched desperately for my MP3 player to discover it had gone missing. Probably stolen at some point while it was left unattended in my backpack.
Obviously I was heartbroken. Not only was it an awesome device for music listening, but I had saved my money up for months to get it!
While I had been saving for my 2GB player, M had been saving his allowance for the 16GB version. It was twice as expensive and he wanted to go big or go home. Therefore, by time I lost my player (which I had only had for a few weeks), M was still saving up for the one he wanted.
Fast forward a couple weeks and it’s Easter morning. It’s the usual excitement and feeling of family bonding as we gather together and line up for a picture, making our way to the living room to dig through our baskets (slowly so my mom can get PLENTY of pictures).
When I sat down with my basket I saw a wrapped parcel sitting next to it. I looked at my mom questioningly, but found she was as puzzled as I was. I opened up the package to find a new MP3 player. But not a 2GB one, a 16GB one, the exact model M had been maticulously saving his money for.
Looking at my big brother, my best friend, and seeing the joy on his face as mine filled with surprise, I started to cry. As we hugged, my mom cried too. Because my mom and I are just weepy people.
I don’t remember how long it took before M saved enough to get his own MP3, but I remember what a sacrifice it was. He could have bought two of the 2GB MP3 players. And honestly I would’ve been just as amazed and felt just as loved. But that’s not how M did things. He didn’t just give. He gave everything. He took what he wanted, what he had been working for, and selflessly gave it away to someone he loved.
This is what our Savior does for us. He doesn’t just give, he gives everything.
In Matthew chapter 19, a righteous man approaches the Savior, listing the commandments he diligently follows. He then asks the Savior a deep and soul searching question:
“The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” Matthew 19:20-21
Most of us know how this story ends. The man went away sorrowful because he “had great possessions.” We do not know what the man ultimately decided to do, but we know that it was a difficult decision for him.
I often feel like that man. Sorrowful for the material sacrifices my natural selfish self desires.
But my brother, my truly selfless brother, without hesitation he gave all and followed Christ.
And he still does. Every time.
I feel during this Easter season, the best way we could possibly express gratitude and worship for our Savior and his ultimate sacrifice, is to do the same as my brother has done; to give all we have and follow Him. To serve selflessly. To not just give, but like the widow’s mite, give everything.