“My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them, for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace.”
He couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 years old. His Mom told him to pay attention as they moved toward the checkout, but there were too many toys distracting him. It was Toys “R” Us—what kid wouldn’t get distracted? His Mom, too focused on her other munchkins, hurriedly paid for their items and moved toward the exit. The boy was alone. At first, he happily played with every toy he could reach – not a care in the world. Then, he asked his Mom if he could get the stuffed animal. No response.
Without looking up, he repeated his question, but with a little more gusto. No response. He looked up apprehensively and turned in all directions. “Mommy!” No response. The panic set in, and the screams for Mommy transformed into tears of despair. Before he could spiral too far out of control, his Mom burst around the corner and swooped him into her arms. She rocked him calmly and said, “That’s why you can’t let go of my hand when we’re out like this”.
I’ve found myself distracted by the “toys” in life on more than one occasion. Whether it’s a job promotion, or a new date, there will always be things we chase after, regardless of the price we’ll pay to get them.
At first we don’t notice the little compromises to our integrity. (“I can tell a small lie on a report if it is for the greater good of the company.”) Then the compromises become a little more pronounced. (“My girlfriend doesn’t like me talking about my faith too much because it annoys her—so I don’t.”)
Finally, we may have difficulty recognizing ourselves and the panic begins to set in. We’ve lost sight of our guiding beliefs and don’t know which way to turn. If we take a moment to review the small steps we took to reach our current situation, a pattern of careless decisions made for immediate gratification often emerges. If only there was a guide to help us (you know where this is going)!
The truth shall set you free.
One of the reasons the Bible is such a powerful guide is because it is truth distilled in its purest form. It helps us delay immediate gratification for eternal gratification. It focuses our energies on building integrity instead of empires. It helps us understand what will truly make us rich in spirit and fulfilled in life. It does everything we are expecting those distracting toys to do.
God’s words can reinvigorate the most down trodden. Even just 15 minutes a day reading the Bible will give you more clarity. And if you use it, you’ll be refreshed in ways you didn’t think possible.
Isaiah Pickens works with kids for a living and relies on God to avoid those distracting toys. He’s led a Men’s Growth Group for the past two semesters and hopes that these groups have helped men grow closer to Christ while improving their jumpshots.