Jimmy And Grandpa

Psalms 106:15

Jimmy and Grandpa were walking home

from church together. “I know the text,”

said Jimmy trying to keep step with his

grandpa, “and Daddy said if I can tell it

when I get home, he will give me a dollar.”

 “Let’s hear it,” said Grandpa, “and if

you really do know it, I will give you

another dollar.”

“He gave them their request; but sent

leanness into their soul.”

“That’s right,” said Grandpa, “and here

is your dollar.”

“Thank you,” said Jimmy politely, and

then added, “But I don’t know what it


“Let’s sit down here in this little park,”

said Grandpa. “Here’s a story I once heard

a minister tell. He had taken his little girl

into the city one day, and as they walked

along a city street she spied a tray of small

china dolls, and at once insisted that she

should get one. Her father tried to persuade

her to wait, but she was insistent, so he

took her in and allowed her to choose the

doll she wanted, and carry it away.

“By and by they came to a window


 where large and lovely wax dolls were

displayed. They had real hair and tiny teeth

that showed between their smiling lips.

They opened and closed their eyes, and if

you turned them over they made a sound

like ‘Mamma.’

“The little girl gasped in astonishment.

Never had she seen such lovely dolls.

“‘Now,’ said her father, ‘one of these is

what I really brought you into the city to

get. But you have a new doll, one that was

entirely your own choice. You insisted on

it, so I can’t buy you another doll today.’

So they went home, the little girl soberly

carrying a cheap little toy instead of the

beautiful doll her father had intended for


Side by side the two sat on the bench in

silence. Jimmy, thinking about the story,

then he exclaimed. “Wasn’t she silly? Her

father meant to give her a great big doll

and she chose the little one. How silly!”

Then all at once his face changed. “Is that

what the text means, Grandpa? God wants

to give people something fine and big, and

they coax so hard for something cheap that

He lets them have it—and then He sends

leanness into their soul? What does ‘leanness’ 


“Do you remember that man we saw in

the restaurant,” replied Grandpa, “who

could hardly eat anything? I knew him. He

has abused his stomach with drink until he

almost has to starve himself. Suppose

people set their hearts on the mean little

things of this world. Like money, or fame,

or houses, or cars, or friends, until they

finally have no appetite, no desire for the

fine things God might otherwise give them.

Aren’t we silly to choose these things instead of 

heaven and the happiness God

wants to give us? If you remember that text

you will understand what ‘leanness’ means

even better as you get older.”

“Are you sure you remember the text?”

said Grandpa rising.

“He gave them their request, but sent

leanness into their soul,” answered Jimmy.

“And I don’t think I will ever forget it


Clara A. Alexander