The kids were filled with excitement. Sweet Boy could hardly keep his two feet on the ground. Skipping and a little hopping, we were almost inside . . . almost to the place that every child thinks is the best place ever (and no, I’m not talking Disney World). The sliding doors opened and we walked into Toys R Us.
With money earned and leftover gift cards, each child planned on getting a toy, a new treasure to bring home. Sweet Boy had $8 and Sweet Girl, $4. I was a little curious how this was going to work. But Sweet Boy had done the extra chores so he could buy a particular Chuggington train.
Let’s face it. Toys R Us knows what they are doing. They have two little train tables set up for hands-on play that my kids could spend hours at. Usually, I let them play for a bit then we shop and I give them two more minutes to play on the train tables before we check out. Yes, we seem to be there fairly often.
After we picked up my son’s train, it was my daughter’s turn to find a toy. Sweet Girl had a little more difficulty choosing something. There is not a whole lot to buy in the girly aisles for under $4. We slowly went up and down each one. She latched on to items that were ten times as much, but handled it well when I told her she didn’t have enough money. It was then that I suggested we go to the front of the store and check out all the dollar bins.
As we were making our way past the registers, she caught glimpse of it. That little yellow school bus calling kids to 50 cent rides. Well, we didn’t even make it over to the bins. She said that she wanted to use her money to go for a ride on the school bus. I double-checked and triple-checked that she would not be disappointed when we left by the fact that she didn’t have a toy while her brother did. She assured me as a 3 year old would that she wanted to ride the bus.
We went back to the train table for round two of play and I figured she’d spot something that would change her mind. But no. Of course like any other mother, I wondered and prepared myself for what could happen when we got all buckled up in the car. Can you imagine? But secretly, I was thrilled that we were not bringing another toy into this house.
After check-out, she ran to the bus. Like a big kid, she put in her two quarters and thoroughly enjoyed her ride. But as you can expect, when that ride came to an end, disappointment set it. She did not cry, but there was still a level of sadness that she didn’t have something that lasted.
There are a thousand parallels in life for this story. (Believe me, I’ve thought through many of them in writing this!) But there is one that stands out for me. And that is on the spiritual level of choosing things that last. Especially after reading “Beyond Heaven’s Door” by Max Lucado, I am refocused on the eternal vs. the temporary. (Read my full review here.)
As we go about our days, weeks and even months, are we focusing on the spiritual elements of life? Are we building treasures up in heaven or are we focused purely on the fun in this life and ignoring what is beyond the threshold of life and death? Do we share the good news with others or do we focus entirely on our own wants and desires? Do we prioritize people over things?
We are preparing to build a house. I love big houses . . . ok, I could live in a mansion and be thrilled. But as we’re making preparations, in the back of my mind, I need to remember this is not my eternal home. My mansion will be in heaven. This house will not last. I can’t put all my stock in this temporary dwelling, rather I need to be sure I am building up the kingdom and treasures that will last.
I’m not saying don’t have fun, don’t go on vacation or do things you enjoy. By no means! You know how I love creating fun and special moments . . . and memorable vacations to Disney World. God enjoys blessing His sons and daughters even in this temporary life. And I am thankful He delights us in more ways than I can count. I’m only saying, don’t put all your stock in earthly things. They won’t last. Eternity will.
For me, this has to be a daily, conscious decision. I’m far too easily absorbed in my list and what needs to get done. I just don’t want to miss the most important and lasting things in exchange for a short ride on a little bus. How about you?