Children, buffets and the infinite resources of heaven (godly children)

Children, buffets and the infinite resources of heaven

In my previous godly children post on this blog we talked about how children being children can often teach us more about Kingdom living than all of our cleverness as adults.

Case in point: At home we always dish up set meal portions and so attending an event with a buffet where you can help yourself to all these foodstuffs was a wonder beyond imagination to my children.

Perhaps it’s a British thing but, out of politeness, we hold back from fully filling our plate to ensure others behind us in the queue get enough (or at least don’t accuse us of being greedy). Those who don’t keep to this unwritten rule are always talked about in the most negative of ways, especially when food runs out.

However, my children didn’t abide by this unwritten rule and piled the food high on their plates and even when they hadn’t finished what they had they went back for more again and again and again.

I could feel the embarrassment in me fuelling a volcanic eruption that would put Mount Vesuvius to shame. But then you get that feeling that God is standing by your shoulder, clearing his throat and saying “ahem” to give you a hint that maybe you’re just missing something beautiful….

Are my children being selfish and not thinking of others? Or is it that they simply have no concept of it running out?

Why would they? They’ve been brought up by parents who love them and provide for their needs and so when they see the huge array of food spread out why would they even think of food running out?

They are models for us to how we should relate to our heavenly Father.

We have a Father who gives good gifts to his children (Mt 7:11) – in fact our Father is so good that we who love our children are called evil in comparison. Think for a moment. The universe was created as a love gift for His Son Jesus (Col 1:16) – that’s the extravagance of our Father. And we are now his children (1 Jn 3:1) and co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17).

But do we act like adults at a buffet with God? Do we hold back from asking for too much frightened that our father’s heavenly storehouses (Mal 3:10) will run out? That there won’t be enough blessing to go round? Or that there are others who are more in need and so we shouldn’t ask?

Or do we hold back from asking too much so we don’t become too indebted? So we can live “safe” lives?

Or maybe we believe the lie that Satan has been telling from the beginning that our Father is holding out on us? That he can’t be trusted?

Let’s learn from our children that our Father can do far more than we can ask or imagine (Eph 3:20), who loves His children and wants to bless us.

Maybe it’s time to ask to see the riches of Christ poured out so that we will love so much more and become hopeless indebted to the One who’s worthy of it all.

Amen.

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The gift that keeps on being taken (godly children)

My boys often help me with the food shopping on a Saturday morning and as a way of saying thank you I buy them have a treat from the bread and pasties isle.

The gift that keeps on being taken

My eldest son chose a huge baguette and after getting in the car, he pulled of a tiny piece and offered it to me.

I was conflicted.

Whilst I was pleased that my son sought to share something I had bought for him with me, the amount he offered back was an insult.

“That’s how you are with me.”

The Father’s voice crashed in to my inward grumping.

“Sorry?”

“That’s how you are with the gifts I give you.”

The reality hit me right between the eyes.  It was true.

God has given me gifts of teaching and prophecy but he has given me more than just these “spiritual” gifts. The talents and abilities I see as “natural” are actually from Him.  The job that I’m currently in is a gift from Him.  The achievements that I believe are due to my efforts are actually a gift from Him.  My wife was declared infertile by the doctors and so all my children are a gift from Him too.  And my very life is a gift from Him – I only continue to be because Jesus holds all things together

Of all these many gifts He has showered on me what I give Him back is an insult.

Too often I see my gifts as mine and use them to build my kingdom, my influence, my platform, my reputation rather than honouring the One from whom it all came.

May it never be so again.

Father, forgive me that I take all that you give me and then selfishly use it for my own ends.  Let my life become a fragrant offering back to you.  May I like David say:

“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (1 Chron 29:14)

This theme is explored in my allegorical tale “The Donkey and the King”.

This is the third post in a series called “godly children” – looking at how our children’s behaviour opens our eyes to how we behave as children of God.  My introductory post was as a guest on this blog and the second (CEO or Father) can be found here.

CEO or Father (godly children)

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My eldest daughter had her first day at primary school and was distraught to discover that there was another girl in the class with the same name.

“But daddy, how will you know which one of us to pick up at the end of the day?”

I replied, “Because only one of them is my daughter.”

This might seem silly to us grown-ups but maybe my daughter’s question is actually something we say to (or think about) our Father in Heaven.  And maybe my response is a shadow of a truth that we adults need to hear from our Heavenly Father

How often in our lives do we honestly think that God won’t notice us?

I mean there are a lot of other Christians doing the same things as us….

When I heard God’s call clearly to start helping parents teach their children about godly sexuality I was so excited about the revelation He was showing me.  I felt so special that He would call me to this task.

But then I discovered that God had called others to the same task.  I was devastated.  What’s the point in so many of us doing the same thing?

And the enemy whispered that I wasn’t unique, I wasn’t special, that I can’t have heard the call right. Anyway why would God call me to such an important task and besides who would listen anyway.

I confess that I fluctuated between giving up or doing the task but covering my insecurity with a false bravado claiming how great I was.  I was fearful of those others who were doing the same thing so I didn’t want to reference their resources and I even resorted to visiting “competing” ministries’ websites to try and steal their visitors for my own site.

I was just like my daughter:

Wondering whether my Father truly notices me and knows who I am, whether he values what I’m doing.

I didn’t realise my uniqueness to my Father.

But what if their gifting is greater or their ministry bigger?

What’s the point of me doing the same thing when others are clearly more qualified.

Let me giving another example with my daughter:

On a parents’ evening at school when I go into to look at the children’s work displayed on the walls – is my daughter worried I’m going to only look at the pictures which are drawn the best?

By no means!  She knows that I’m looking for her work.  It doesn’t matter to me whether another child has drawn a particular picture better than her as I’ve only got eyes for her work as that is the one that is most precious to me.

So it is with our Heavenly Father:

God is not a CEO of a company with a limited number of positions that we all have to compete for.  He is a Father that delights in the uniqueness of each of His children.

Suppose my daughter compared her work to others and saw that they were better and give up writing or drawing.  I would be heartbroken.  There would be a hole in my world.

So too with us.

If we could compare our ministry or gifting to others and give up because someone else is better we would break our Father’s heart.  He values what we are doing.

There is always room for another child in the Father’s family as every child is unique and brings a distinctive flavour to the family even if they do the same things/hobbies as each other.  And only when they’re all present is the whole family complete.

There is room for you.  Never fear.

Father, open my eyes to see you as the perfect father who delights in me, knows who I am and delights in the work I do for Him.  Let me realise that there is a special place for me in the family and help me to bring my contribution to it no matter what others around me may be doing.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is my second post on godly children – looking at how our children behave to open our eyes to how we behave as children of God.  My first was a guest post on this blog.

An absolutely excellent article on this subject was written by Matt Stinton on the Bethel Music blog here.  You won’t regret reading it.

PS If you own one of those sites that I spammed during my insecure days – please forgive me.  Know that I now honour you by recommending your sites and resources to my followers and I create memes that honour the revelation you have received.