Putting Away the Toys

upsetchildI worked with some friends who had a three-year-old son.

The mother would come to the office to work, and she would set little Nate in a corner with a box of toys—nothing fancy, a few blocks, plastic cars, and such. One afternoon while Nate was busy playing, his father quietly confided to me that, although Nate didn't know it, they were about to take him to Discovery Zone--a place of pizza, ball pits, video games, and a myriad of other childhood wonders!

When it was finally time to leave, my friend turned to his son and instructed him to put away the toys so they could go.

Oh, the wailing, the gnashing of teeth! The fit that child threw over having to put away his little toys, not knowing that his father had asked him to put them away so that he could go and experience something immeasurably better!

I learned something that day.

How often does God asks me to sacrifice something in my life, and I respond with whining and argument, scratching and clawing to hold onto my 'toys”? The reality is that He wants me to give up my immediate pleasures so that He can bless me with something immeasurably better!

There is always something else to do when it's time to read the Word.

There is always another option besides doing what God has asked me to do. I can always find some justification for not ridding my life of the inconsequential. A reason always presents itself to stay up late on Saturday night or to sleep in on Sunday. Other events encroach on scheduled times of fellowship and worship with God's family. All kinds of options present themselves, promising to answer my questions and solve my problems, before a prayer for guidance can form on my tongue. The temporal constantly tries to push out the eternal.

Of all the forces that act upon our physical universe, gravity is the weakest. Yet gravity binds oceans to their place, wears down mountains, and holds stars and planets in subjection, not through overwhelming strength, but through persistence. Gravity never stops pulling, never releases its grip.

Temporal concerns and possessions are always present, always pulling at our time and our passions.

They don't win by overwhelming us but by persistently drawing us away from an eternal perspective.

In the same way that mankind resists the pull of gravity in order to create and build and become strong, so God wishes us to fight the pull of the temporal and build an eternal legacy, achieving spiritual maturity and strength. God wants everlasting happiness and fulfillment for us. He wants it so badly that He made the ultimate sacrifice to make them available to us.

The real question is how badly we desire those things.

Lord, help us to put our trust in Your character and walk in obedience. Help us to lay down our little 'toys,” sacrificing immediate pleasure for long-term reward. Help us to hold lightly the things of this earth and constantly invest our time and energy on things that will bring heavenly returns. May our lives bring eternal glory to Your name!

''Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also'” (Matthew 6:19-21, NASB).

© 2013 Scott Hassett