Then she reached for the price tag.
The next moment, the sunshine in the little girl’s eyes melted into tears. “Oh, Daddy,” she wept, “I’ll never have enough. Never.” She threw herself into his arms.
Her father cradled her head on his shoulder and gently stroked her hair, letting her cry.
When the little girl finally settled down, her father wiped her tears away and said, “How about this? How much money do you have?”
“Sixty-one cents,” she answered in a forlorn voice.
“Then I’ll tell you what,” he said. “Let’s try a different arrangement. You give me everything you’ve got – the whole sixty-one cents – and a hug and a kiss, and this bike is yours. I’ll make up the difference.”
Hope came back into the little girl’s eyes. “Really, Daddy?” she asked.
“Oh, Daddy!” she said once again, but the words were happy ones now, and the little girl hurried to fill her part of the bargain with several hugs and kisses just to be sure.
The deal was completed, and the Most Perfect Bike Ever was purchased, and the father walked beside his little girl as she wheeled it proudly to the car. In his pockets jingled the sixty-one cents, and in his heart glowed his love for his daughter and the joy he felt in knowing how hard she had worked to reach her goal. When it came down to it, the sixty-one cents – and the hugs and kisses – were exactly enough.
But the story doesn’t end there. . . .
The truth is, there’s something we all want, and we want it more than any child ever wanted any bicycle. We want the kingdom of God. We want to go home to our Father in Heaven worthy and clean.
At some point in that spiritual voyage, we recognize the full price of admission into that kingdom, and we also realize we cannot pay it. We’ll never have enough - - never. The tremendous price of perfect performance is hopelessly beyond our means.
And so we despair.