Our family went on a short camping trip for Spring Break, only 2 nights and 3 days in a tent with a family of 6. Our van was loaded down as though we were going to spend three months out of town. We had to have all 6 bikes of course, we wanted to go biking. Each child had to pack their own bag of clothes and sleeping bags for each person, along with pillows, bathroom supplies, a tent, 6 chairs and three coolers full of food. Seems like the necessary things right? Look at the car it is ridiculous! Do we really need all these things? We are creatures of habit and comfort and we think we must have all these things.
Recently I have been teaching my children “We do not love things, we love people”. We should respect and treat our things with care but not to the level we respect and care for people. If something breaks it is a thing, if a person’s feelings are hurt it is much more important. We talked about the story of Moses in the desert when he came down with the Ten Commandments and found that the people had made the false idols and were worshipping them. The children know that story from school and they said “Because we only have 1 God we should not worship statues and idols.” I asked them if they believed in other gods. Of course their answer was quickly “NO”. Then we talked about things in this life that they love; playing on the computer, playing sports, watching TV and reading books. These things are not bad things to do but when all we want to do is those things and we put everything else second to those things we are making them little gods. My children’s eyes became very big and they began to ask many questions. My children’s priorities are in order, they are children of course they will become obsessed easily with new things and activities, that is healthy and normal. I just wanted to teach them to not make that activity or thing come before each other.
It is easy for the things of this world to tempt us. We feel that if only we had a newer house we would have to fix fewer things in the house. We feel if we had more money we could do so much more in life than we do now. Then we fixate on that goal, work longer hours for more money but then we have less time to do what we wanted in the first place. We think if we have that expensive car we will feel like the commercials try to sell us, free and good about life. The fact is a car doesn’t change your self esteem, it is a thing.
My oldest son, he is 11, said while sitting next to the campfire “Mom I just realized something. All things that man has made will be gone someday. It can all be burned and destroyed. But the creations God has made will last forever and come back again. Like trees and nature and people, we will go to heaven, so things of God will last forever, but not things of man.” (Honest to God, I am not making that up; my 11 year old said that). That is what we as people need to learn things will break and fade from existence. People, unconditional love, generosity, hope, kindness and God will last forever. So what will you worship? Who is your God in this lifetime? What things are truly necessary for this existence in your life?