Wednesday, I talked about my dog Kiko’s broccoli squeaky toy, highly coveted and fought over by our younger granddaughters Anne-Sophie and Marie-Hélène. That broccoli brought out enmity, strife, jealously, anger, quarrels and dissentions, and envy in them. The apostle Paul calls these “works of the flesh.” Perhaps these might be called behaviors that result from a sense of scarcity. There were plenty of doggie toys to play with, but only one broccoli. In addition, they each got turns, so after a period of waiting, things would change.
Focusing on what we don’t have rather than on what we do have seldom ends well. And in our culture of instant gratification, waiting any length of time can seem torturous, not only for children but for adults. I can relate to Paul when he wrote, “I do not do what I want – instead, I do what I hate.” (Romans 7:18)
I helped Rod get the girls ready for their trip back to Bowie, MD. I got them securely into their car seats, and Rod made sure each girl had their electronic device and Bluetooth headsets ready to play. That sure beats the primitive car trips we took with our boys, no AC, no electronics, and no car seats after age 3. Their entertainment was reaching across the imaginary Maginot line that separated their sides of the back seat and touching their sibling, setting off all kinds of works of the flesh. They set off on the trip, and I sat down to write about the broccoli doggie toy.
When he got back, he told me this story. About an hour into the drive, Marie-Hélène had electronics issues and began to fuss. She noticed what her sister was viewing on her device, and said, “I want to see that.” Unprompted, Anne-Sophie said, “You can watch it.” She then proceeded to trade her device with her sister, and place her headset on her sister’s head. Rod asked Anne-Sophie, “what will you do?” She replied, “I guess I’ll rest for a while.” Paul said something about that as well. “The fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.” (Galatians 5:22-23) When we are aware of the grace of God in the present moment, we live with a sense of abundance right here and right now.
It is our job to help children learn to share, to take turns, to delay gratification. And it is our responsibility to model and live with a sense of abundance, that in Christ we have all that we need in this moment and day, so no need to worry about tomorrow. “Tomorrow”, a wise man named Jesus said, “will bring worries of its own”.
If a six-year-old can spontaneously share with her three-year-old sister then maybe we can, too.
The abundant fruit of the Spirit trumps all. ~ Anne
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