My daughter was excited. Driving home from work with dad several years ago, my 4-year-old was eager to tell me of her joy.
“I’m so excited, Dad. ‘Know why?”
“No, Sweetheart. Why?”
“’Cuz Papa and Granma are coming to see me tomorrow and they’re going to bring me a surprise. I can’t wait to get my surprise!” Kristin asserted.
Seizing upon an opportunity, I decided to teach my daughter a little lesson.
“Well, Kristi,” I said. “I am really glad you are excited to see your grandparents. Even so, I just want to make sure that you are excited about seeing them and not just some prize they might bring. You see, it is really important that we not love things. It is alright to like things, but we are not supposed to love things according to the Bible. We are supposed to love God and to love people and it is OK to like things. So, what you should be most excited about is that you get to see your grandparents, not the gifts they might bring. Got it?”
Kristi nodded her head slowly.
A little later, when we got home, I told my wife all about our lesson. She quickly retorted, “Robert, don’t you think that is a bit of a heavy lesson for a 4-year-old to learn? It’s probably more than she can grasp at this stage. Maybe you are just expecting too much out of her.”
On more careful consideration, I decided she may be right.
The next day, Saturday morning, we sat down to eat some waffles I had just cooked. As Pam dug into hers, she said, “Robert, I just love these waffles!”
No sooner had Pam spoken then Kristin interrupted, “Mom! You don’t love those waffles really, do you? We’re not supposed to love things. We’re only supposed to love God and people. But, Mom, it’s OK if you like them.”
I laughed and exulted over the lesson learned – a good one for children to remember and adults, as well. After all, we live in a culture in which the “price tags are switched.” What should be of great value (ie: our relationships and friendships) is too often devalued; and what should mean little to us (ie: positions, possessions and power) is too often idolized and clamored after. Jesus made it clear that loving God and loving people are the most priceless possessions of the Kingdom.