It was a fleeting thought. I’m embarrassed by it. Why on earth would I ever consider doing that? Surely there is no possibility of potential good! Shouldn’t my years of experience have told me to stay away? But in a moment of lapsed judgment, I thought, “Yes, yes I should take my 4-year-old to the going-out-of-business Toys R Us Liquidation sale! It would be a shame if she never had the experience of being a ‘Toys R Us kid,’ and I could teach her the song ‘…I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid, they’ve got a million toys at Toys R Us that I can play with!’”
Before turning into the parking lot bursting with mini-vans, I contemplated whether this was going to be a solid family discipleship moment and what Shane Friesen, who runs our Hope@Home ministry, would do (WWSD). I suddenly had a vision of what possibly lay ahead: a lot of whining, entitlement, and greed. And that wouldn’t be much fun, so I shook my head slowly, pressed the gas, and motored past the store.
I have seen kids who, upon crossing the threshold of that “church of toys”, turn into insatiable worshippers of stuff, wanting more and more. But I think that observation informs us about human nature in general. We all want to be happy and content. Many think that happiness and even security can be derived from things: our possessions, our money, the people we know, and yes… the toys we have. Kids are just a little more blunt about it.
Adults also search for “stuff” to meet our longings. We think that the right person will make our lives right. We think that we just need to get past this stage of life. We think that once spring or summer arrives, all the problems will go away, or that if we get a… new house, new job, new spouse, new hobby, or a new whatever, all our problems will be solved. We start working our way through all of these “fixes,” and yet each stone overturned becomes a new disappointment. We are left hungry, with those same unfulfilled desires.
As followers of Jesus, we must try to understand that true happiness, true shalom (peace) and order, will come not in this lifetime but in the one to come. Rest in Jesus and in his promises and purposes for us, rather than in the promise of a brand, a marketing campaign, or a new toy. In the day-to-day, I fight against being wooed by the promises of stuff way more than I’d like to admit.
Father, help us understand that this is not our home. Help us to live each day unto our calling as new creations. Transform us into the image of Jesus so that we are not just a reflection of the world. “We are kids of the King!”