This morning as I sat on the living room couch reading Isaiah, Judah informed me that we had only one Pop Tart left as he sat at the kitchen table munching on the second-to-last one. Knowing that I was about to leave in the next few minutes, I took the opportunity to pass along a fundamental lesson in biblical masculinity: “That’s why I need to go to work, Buddy — to buy us more Pop Tarts.” But my four-year-old son caught the logic, reversed course, and replied with a lesson of his own: “We don’t need any more Pop Tarts. You can stay home from work.”
Judah understands that Daddy provides the Pop Tarts. He knows that when we’re almost out, I’m the one he should inform. I tell him often that I go to work to make money and provide for our food, our clothing, and our home. There are many more reasons, but there aren’t less. Under God, a husband and father should provide for his family. Judah can’t get more Pop Tarts on his own, so if he wants more, he will need to ask the provider.
But what happens when he realizes that having more Pop Tarts will cost him time with Daddy?
Somehow the most natural reactions of a child easily become the most unnatural reactions of a child of God.
For Judah, when faced with the option of enjoying what Daddy provides or enjoying Daddy, his reaction was instantaneous — even spontaneous. What’s a Pop Tart worth compared to time with Daddy? This wasn’t a decision to think and pray about, working through an insightful list of pros and cons before drawing a measured conclusion. Judah instinctively knew.
He wants more Pop Tarts. But he doesn’t want more Pop Tarts more than he wants more Daddy.
God richly provides for His children. We lack nothing. Even when, in our estimation, the cupboard is running bare, we can ask Him in a special way to provide. Yet often we fail to recognize that as good as our Father’s gifts may be, He Himself is infinitely better. His deepest pleasure is to see us seeking not what is His, but Him.
What happens when a child of God is satisfied with his Father in this way? We seek nothing from others and demand nothing from others but rather give everything to others like God has given everything to us. We begin to love and pursue people for their own sake and not for anything they can give us. We begin to say with Paul, “I seek not what is yours but you” (2 Corinthians 12:14).
I’m glad we’re almost out of Pop Tarts, and I’m glad I go to work each day, if only that I might learn the lesson my precious son taught me this morning through his unclouded, childlike realization:
“Oh… well, if having that will cost me you… Daddy, just stay home from work today.”