Learn to let go of all the toys

Published 6:25 pm Friday, April 1, 2016

All of our little girls enjoy coming to our house, but Addyson seems to like it here with a special kind of fondness. If she had her way in the matter, she would stay with us almost all the time; it is not unusual for her to be less than happy when she has to leave and go home. It reminds me a lot of how I was toward my grandparents when I was a child. They lived only a few miles down the road, but it was a real treat whenever I got a chance to spend time at their house.

One night a few weeks back, Jessica and her girls had been at a softball game.

The game was nearly an hour from home and ended much too late for a school night. On the way home, they came by our house for a brief visit; Jessica stayed in the car and her two girls came in to see Gale and me. Addy lost no time jumping into my lap to chat for a few minutes. Her mother got impatient and demanded that Addy hurry up and come to the car. Addy’s response was simple, yet it stuck in my mind when she said to me, “I wish we didn’t have to leave!”

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Those of you who have been in our house know that there is nothing fancy there. We have what we need, but it is simple and basic. We do not have elaborate furnishings or the latest in electronics to attract Addy; she likes to come to our house simply because Nana and Papa live there and she enjoys being in our presence.

She does not have to earn the privilege of coming to see us, but she is welcome at our house because she is part of our family. That open invitation holds true for each of our grandchildren.

If all of God’s people had the same passion for being in His presence and in His House that Addy has for being at our house, I am confident that the atmosphere and attitude in our churches would be drastically improved. If our desire to know and experience God deeper grew to the point that we started to cherish His presence more than the frivolous things of life that rob so much of our affection and attention, the spiritual impact would be phenomenal.

In his book, The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis refers to the things of life that occupy our attention to the neglect of what is more important—our spiritual health—as toys: “I remind myself that all these toys were never intended to possess my heart, that my true good is in another world and my only real treasure is Christ.” He goes on to point out that in seasons of distress attention is often pointed in the right direction, but when the storm subsides it is too often that those “toys” once again return to center stage. Losing focus of what is of highest importance—desiring to be near God—is a malady that we too often struggle with and that we should strive to overcome.

After wrestling with the inequality of what appeared to be the prosperity of the wicked, the Psalm writer came to the realization of a tremendous truth: “Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You” (Psalm 73:25, New International Version). When our desire to be near God intensifies, our attachment to the “toys” of this life is loosened.