One of the kids favorite things to do while relishing every minute of what feels like the shortest weeks of our year (an annual Wills family gathering in Arizona for Thanksgiving) is attending my folks church in Cave Creek. Sounds crazy that church would be on their list of top ten – maybe five – of fun things to do. I wish it was because of life-changing experiences when they step into their classrooms. No. Not so much. The messages are great … but the prizes are better. Yes, games are played and prizes awarded to the victors – well participants.
Jack, being a few years behind his ragamuffin crowd of boy cousins boo-hooed when he saw that his class was down the way and around a corner. There was no way to put a 4-year-old in the 2nd and 3rd grade area. Tired, disappointed and stubborn, he relegated himself to sitting with us in the sanctuary, moaning his lament throughout the service.
Upon conclusion, we raced out to gather the troops. And true to form, prizes were in hand. As the kids walked pass Jack, one of them pulled out a big red lollipop, opened it slowly in front of Jack and happily stuck the big sucker in his mouth humming with delight. Completely unaware that lollipops are Jack’s pinnacle and that the poor kid had spent the last hour coveting the boys’ time together – without him – the kid looked at Jack with his bright shiny eyes, winked and happily skipped away licking the confection on a stick.
Jack’s entire body went limp as he grabbed and sunk into my leg, melting into a big sack of sobs. I picked up the poor little schnook and let him blubber all over my shirt.
“I waaannttt waaaahhhnnn!!!” he cried pitifully.
His brother walked up to us.
“What’s wrong with Jack?” he asked.
“Nothing. He’s tired. Well, and still sad he didn’t get to go with y’all”
“Lolliii- (sob, sob, sob) Paawwwpp … (sob, sob)”
“Oh yeah.. and he saw the loot and wants a lollipop.”
The kid looked at the brown Tootsie-Pop in his hand. Then looked at Jack.
“He can have mine.” And he handed Jack the candy.
I thought about this scene as I was reading 1 Timothy 6 this morning. “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” And I thought about the “life that is truly life” statement.
Generosity – sharing – helps us hold loosely so that our focus can be grounded, not in the false security that worldly materials provide, but in the referenced eternal life. For only eternal life is real life…. and it looks nothing like the world. It GIVES constantly – from the Beginning to the End.
I was struck by God’s generosity. That He relentlessly gives – everything around us (if we open our eyes to see it). It is His. He shares the beauty (dessert flowers), the power (a storm that rumbled across the mountains last night), life (the two young bob-cats that just walked by our front door… seriously), provision, comfort, strength,… For He is the essence of all that is good. He is the giver of all good things.
Jack’s brother knew that lollipops jazz the kid. Standing in that atrium, he took what was his, what he had just won, something he wanted to eat … and gave it away. As a mother, it warmed my heart.
Are my eyes open to see that God does just that for me every minute of every day. Sometime I see it, sometimes I don’t. Often my reaction is like Jack’s.
He scrunched his nose, pouted and said, “I wanted the RED one!”
As I enter this week of Thanksgiving, might I be just that. Grateful to the giver. Grateful for friends who remind me (like I had to remind Jack) to be thankful. Grateful for His word that provides a light for the path.
One foot in front of the other. Thanks for walking the road with me.