DayBreaks for 8/03/17: Lessons From a Little Child
From the DayBreaks archive, August 2007:
My oldest son, Doug, recently wrote this in his blog:
“My four-year-old son and I went for a swim at our neighborhood pool on Saturday in the early evening. Though it was still quite warm out, we had the place to ourselves. After our swim we pulled up a couple chairs to sit and dry, facing toward the declining sun. It was a lovely scene: the still, shadowed water of the pool surrounded by an ivied fence; the tall eucalypti and willows stirring languidly in the breeze; the hummingbirds darting through the flowered margins of the grounds; the playful cries of a pair of hawks dashing through the treetops.
We sit silent a moment or two and then my son folds his hands on his lap and says, “Let’s have a conversation.”
“All right,” I say. “What should we talk about?”
“You decide, Papa.”
“Okay. So tell me,” I say, recalling a conversation we had that morning, “do you really think you’d like to be a fireman on a train when you grow up?”
“Yes, a fireman, who shovels the coal and fires it up to keep the train moving.”
“That sounds like a good job.”
“Yes, but I won’t have any little boys or girls or a wife when I’m a fireman.”
“No… Can a fireman be married and have little boys and girls?”
“Well, yes, he can.”
“But how can he if he’s always working on the train?”
“He comes home sometimes, you know.”
“Oh… Can all workers have wives and little boys and girls?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“I didn’t know that.”
I stretch my legs out in front of me while my 4-year old son digests this new revelation. He pulls his chair closer and rests his hand on my arm. We sit quietly for half a minute. I take a deep breath and sigh.
“You know,” I say, “I think it’s wonderfully relaxing just to sit here and listen to the wind and the songs of the birds, don’t you?”
“You know what I like better, Papa?”
“To sit in a very uncomfortable rocking chair outside and listen to the sounds of forklifts!”
“Really?” I ask, astonished. “An uncomfortable chair? Forklifts?”
“Yes,” he answers. “But what can a forklift lift, and what can a forklift not lift? You tell me.”
“Well,” I say, “a forklift can lift a pallet stacked with heavy boxes and things, but a whole house would be too heavy for it.”
“Yes, but I bet a house wouldn’t be too heavy for an elephant-sized forklift.”
“You mean a forklift so big it could only be operated by elephants? That kind of a forklift?”
“Yes, by elephants. That kind.
“I suppose you’re right, son.”
FIRST: I am struck by my grandson’s commitment to his passion. Even though he labored under the illusion that a fireman on a train couldn’t have children or a wife, he has a passion in his heart to be such a fireman regardless of the cost. The apostle Paul describes people who came to Christ, but who then turned back because they loved the things of this world more than they loved Jesus. They weren’t willing to give up the things of this world to follow the Lord. Charlie was ready to give up all future hope of a family to fulfill a passion. Where is my passion, where is yours? What is it worth to you? What will you give up to follow Him if He calls you?
SECOND: I don’t think my grandson really believes, at 4 years of age, that elephants can run forklifts. But he thinks big. Age has a way of making us think small – and smaller as time goes by. We limit not only ourselves, but more importantly, the actions of God because we have concluded in advance that a situation is impossible – so we never step out in faith to watch God do HUGE things.
THIRD: it is a good thing to have conversations with your dad. The day comes when you can’t. It’s even better to talk with God while we have the chance. We’ll learn amazing things if we listen to His voice – and we will be delighted with the conversation, just as my son delighted in this conversation with his own boy.
FINALLY: maybe you’ve had a tough week. I hope this story brought a smile to your face and will remind you that not everything in the world is a deadly serious as we sometimes make it out to be. Enjoy your weekend!
PRAYER: Oh, Lord! Fire the passion in our hearts, give us hearts ready and eager to give up everything to follow You when you call. Help us to believe – and to expect great things from You through Your great power. Delight us with Your voice and Presence, and let us laugh and rejoice more than we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>