There was once a father who was very kind to His little daughter. But she was introspective, and tended to condemn herself for anything, and did not really think her father’s kindness to her was warranted. One morning her father gave her a beautiful gift — a wonderful doll. She thanked him profusely, and told him that she did not understand why he was so good to her. He asked that evening if she had enjoyed playing with her doll, and she replied that she had not felt worthy enough to enjoy the gift. Her father only nodded.
The next morning, he gave her a second gift — a whole box of doll clothes that went with the doll. Again, she thanked him over and over, and almost wept at the kindness he was showing to her. That second evening he asked how she had enjoyed her gift. She confessed again that she had not played with the doll — it was too wonderful a gift.
The third morning — you can see now that the father had prepared all three gifts beforehand — he gave her a complete dollhouse, completely furnished. This time she did cry, and thanked him as best she knew how to do. That night, he asked if she had enjoyed playing with the doll, the clothes, and the doll house.
She shook her head, and said that she was entirely unworthy of such gifts. She was very thankful, full of thanksgiving, but she was not worthy of his kindness. At this, her father sat down to admonish and teach her, for this was his intent all along. He took her on his lap and said, “Darling, the reason I gave you these gifts was to show you something that you do not yet see. You really are not worthy, and this can be seen in how you have not received my gifts. You are being a very ungrateful daughter. But you think you are being grateful because you say so, and not because you enjoy what I give you. You must learn that gratitude does not consist of rejecting gifts.”
But she was a stubborn little girl, and so it took her a long time to learn this lesson.