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The box on the piano

By Phillip Hines 

While traveling in Alaska last year, we had a tour guide who had lived a remarkably interesting life.  

James lives in Tucson, Arizona; however, each year during the tourist season, he travels to Alaska to lead tours at Skagway.  As we made our way back from Carcross, he shared a story that I will always remember. 

A man named Jack happened to move into Tucson near James. He was several years older than James and was all alone, so, James began visiting with Jack. It was not long before they had developed a wonderful friendship.   

Jack always looked forward to the time he and James would spend talking in the kitchen.  

James learned that Jack was a silversmith by trade. One day while visiting together, James noticed a beautiful small box on top of the nearby piano. James just could not get the unusual box out of his mind.  Later, he asked about it, and Jack replied, “In that box is the most precious thing I have in this world.” This was all Jack would tell James about the beautiful box on the piano. 

The years rolled by, and the two continued their visits in the corner of Jack’s kitchen. James often wondered what was in the beautiful box on the piano that was the most precious thing Jack had in this world.  

By this time, Jack was in his 80s. His health was not at its best. Jack’s cousin wanted him to come and live near her in Flagstaff. It would be the toughest decision Jack would ever make, but he finally decided that, at his age, it would be best to be close to family. 

James would go visit Jack after he had moved from Tucson to Flagstaff. He noticed Jack’s health was rapidly declining.  

One early morning, a few weeks after one of these visits, James received the call that Jack had passed.  

Following Jack’s funeral, James wanted to see Jack’s home one more time. He pulled up into the yard and saw that the curtain in the front window was partially opened. James could not help himself. He had to go and look inside.   

As he gazed into the room, he saw Jack’s old piano – but the beautiful box containing the most precious thing Jack possessed was gone!  

Several weeks later, there was a notice in James’ mailbox about a package he needed to pick up at the post office. He went to the post office and signed the proper forms. They brought out a little cardboard box. He opened the box and inside there was a note addressed to James from Jack.  

The note simply thanked James for the time he had spent visiting with Jack in the corner of the kitchen. Under the card was a beautiful silver-plated watch that Jack had made for James!   

You see, the most precious thing Jack had in the world was the time he had spent with his friend James.  

Friends, do not forget that one of the most precious things you have in this world is your time. Once it is gone, you never get it back.   

However you choose to spend your time, spend it with someone you love (Ephesians 5:16).