Saturday, 12 January 2008

One for the kids

Ever feel a bit embarrassed when you realise you've been a bit silly? Especially when you were being stubbornly silly, hm? It might happen like this:
Dad: Right everyone, leaving in 5 minutes!
[Ben continues playing with the sandpit.]
Mum: Ben, you'll need to come in and wash your hands: we've got to go.
[Ben continues playing with the sandpit. The bucket handle's broken.]
Ben: Mum, can you please fix the bucket handle?
Mum: Not now Ben: we've told you twice now; leave that and come!
Ben: But Mum, I want to play with the sandpit! I don't want to go!
Dad: We can't be late, Ben: everyone else is ready. Let's go.
Ben: I don't care! I want to play in the sandpit!
Mum: But Ben, when we get there you'll have the whole beach to play with, and our new sand toys!

How was Ben being silly? Why do you think he acted like that - what got in the way of him going to the beach?

You know what, we could call those things that got in the way idols. Ben just really wanted something. And he let that completely control him. I want to play with the sandpit! He forgot the big picture - what was really happening - they were going to the beach, which is TONNES better than a sandpit and a broken bucket!

We each do that. We have our little idols. You really want something, and you let that control you. You go for it: you forget what's really true about life and you forget God. Here's one: "My Way". You hear grownups worship this idol: "I did it myyyyyyyyyy way!" or "You've just gotta do what's right for you", and we hear kids say it: "But I want..." Then here's another: "My rights". You hear adults saying this, "I have a right to be treated well round here!" and you worship this idol every time you whine, "But that's not fair - he got more than me!" And when you obey those things you want, it's like making a little idol and putting it on a stand and bowing down to it. It's like clinging on to your broken sandpit bucket handle when God's way is going to be a beach holiday. Stupid, hm? You know the really big truth, the reality. God is God and you're not: he's worth worshipping. Nothing else is! He's worth obeying - nothing else is. He's worth loving, and following, and trusting in: nothing else is. But those little idols, those I want-s can get in the way of the far better thing: worshipping our amazing God!

The good news is, Jesus is an idol-smasher. So ask for his help. Ask for his Holy Spirit in you to set about knocking down and smashing up those idols in you! Reading God's word helps us be idol-smashers since it reminds us of God's big picture - and points us to worship Jesus, not some dumb idol!


Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.

Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them.

O Israel, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.

I'm pondering this for Children's Talk tomorrow... roughly. With credit to C.S.Lewis, Paul Tripp & Mike Reeves.


mama said...

Good stuff! (for older kids - would need adapting for little ones - could be done).

I'm definitely pinching this one :)

Mike said...

Why did Ben need to wash his hands to go to the beach...?

Oh, right - maybe that wasn't the main point of your post....