Everything you want (3 of 3) | Devotions with Dad

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Everything you want (3 of 3)

For DAD Only:

Contention or Contentment?

Using vehicle exhaust, an oppressed parent committed suicide in the garage.  In addition to this crime, the carbon monoxide took an innocent child’s life on the other side the wall, in his bedroom.

You pat yourself on the back that you would never do something so vile.  I’m glad.  But wait.  You might be already guilty.

Americans engage in a nearly undetectable crime every day.  Our financial system is built on this sin.  No, I don’t mean sex or violence.  Our economy depends on the sin of covetousness.  Market experts talk about supply and demand.  This “demand” could often be replaced with the word greed.

Dad, we could be polluting our children without even realizing, until it’s too late.  Motivated by a desire to give our kids a good life, we become too focused on stuff.  Inadvertently, we can sow seeds of dissatisfaction and complaining.

Currently, my family has to deal with less than adequate housing.  While discussing options for finding a better home, I take great effort to teach and model gratefulness to God for what we do have.  I don’t want my children thinking that new things will bring happiness.

It’s easy to get caught up in the craze for the newer car, the latest electronic device, or newest designer fad.  But as a dad, I must remember that what I am, my kids will become.  If I poison my spirit with the lust for things (Matthew 13:22), my kids will suffocate with me.

The charismatic prosperity movement has sent many people flocking after gold instead of God.  This often becomes a thin disguise for carnal greed.  The Apostle Paul warned about those who boast about wealth, “supposing that gain is godliness” and added “from such withdraw thyself” (I Timothy 6:5).  The scripture continues,

But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  (I Timothy 6:6-11, King James Version)

How do I teach my kids that people are more important than things?  By believing that myself.  How do I teach my kids that godliness with contentment is great gain?  By being satisfied with the things I have.  By not saying “I wish I had that” or “If we could only afford it.”

We cure covetousness by changing our desires.  You’ve heard these passages before, but let them sink in: “Set your affection on things above” (Colossians 3:2); “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20); and “covet earnestly the best gifts” (I Corinthians 12:31; 14:39, KJV).  Start desiring what God desires and your children will breath that same life-air.

Talk about what you don’t have. Complain about what you do.  Such mind-sets will cloud your home’s atmosphere with competition and constant griping. Some kids grow up in squalor yet enter life well adjusted.  Others grow up in comfort but can never seem to have enough to satisfy their desires.  Could Dad’s attitude make the difference?

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Dad, read this story with your kids:

Wiggles’s Wants

Last time: Mom had just gotten off the phone with the man who had called to respond to the newspaper add about the dog Rusty and Misty had found.

“Children,” Mom announced, “we have to go see a man who thinks we have his dog.”

Rusty frowned.  “But I thought he was ours!”

“You know we had to put the ad in the paper about the dog.  Some other boy and girl could be missing their little dog.  That would be wrong for us to keep someone else’s dog.”

Misty hugged Wiggles and tears formed in her eyes.  “I thought we could keep him forever and ever.”

“Well, I don’t know, honey,” Mom reached back and patted her arm, “we’ll find out in a minute.”

Rusty and Misty didn’t talk much as Dad drove the minivan across town, and down a street with lots of trucks and cars parked by the curb.  “That’s it,” Mom said, pointing to the address the man on the phone had given her.

Dad scooped up the dog from Misty’s lap and walked to the house.  Rusty and Misty watched him talk to the fat man at the door.  The man reached out to pet the dog while he talked to Dad.  They chatted for a few minutes.

After what seemed like a long, long time, Rusty and Misty watched Dad walk back to the van.  He still had Wiggles in his arms.

“Can we keep him?” Rusty asked.

Dad smiled and patted Wiggles’s head.  “This isn’t his dog.  The dog he lost has longer hair and no tail.”

“Oh, Wiggles!” Misty said, taking the squirming dog into her arms.

“Now,” Dad said through his big grin, “let’s go get Wiggles something from Pet World.”

“Yeah!” Rusty said.

In just a few minutes, the whole family piled out of the van and headed into the big, big pet store.

“What about Wiggles?” Misty asked.

“It’s okay, they let pets in here,” Rusty said.

“Cool!”

“You guys go down the dog aisle and find Wiggles a leash,” Dad said.  “Mom and I need to look at something over here.”

Rusty and Misty walked down the aisle and found the big display of leashes.  Rusty grabbed a black and red one.  “Here, Wiggles, do you like this?”

Wiggles sniffed the leash and wagged his tail.

“He likes it!” Misty said.  “Clip it to his collar, Rusty.”

Rusty attached the leash, and Misty let the dog down on the floor.  Wiggles lifted his head and sniffed the air.

“Look, Rusty,” Misty laughed, “he smells something he likes.”  Wiggles walked over to a box of dog biscuits and sniffed all around it.  He put his little paws up on the shelf and licked the box.

“Oh, he wants them, Rusty.”  Misty picked up the box while clutching the leash in her other hand.

Wiggles wagged his tail as they walked down the aisle.  He stopped when he saw a little chew toy that looked like a football.  He picked it up and squeaked it.  “Oh, he found a little toy!” Misty squealed.  “We have to get this for him, too!”  She handed Rusty the box of dog biscuits and picked up the toy to bring it along.

When they tried to walk further down the aisle to get to their parents, Wiggles spotted another chew toy, a bone on a rope.  He picked it up and looked at Rusty, while wagging his tail.  “Oh no!  He wants that too!” he said.

Misty put her hands on her hips.  “We can’t buy you everything you want, Wiggles!”

Rusty picked up the chew rope.  “I hope Mom and Dad don’t mind.”

They began walking down the aisle again, but this time Wiggles stopped at a little bag of dog food on the bottom shelf.  He sniffed and pawed at it.  “Yap! Yap!” he barked.

“Oh great!” Rusty groaned.  He handed the box of treats back to Misty and picked up the bag, hugging it to his chest.

Just then, Mom and Dad came down the aisle.  “What is all that stuff?” Dad wanted to know.

“Wiggles saw a lot of things he liked!” Misty said.  “He loves this store.”

Dad smiled, “Well, I’m sure he does, but he isn’t the one paying for it all.  We already have toys and dog food at home.  All we needed was the leash.”

“Do we have to put it all back?” Misty asked.

“Yes.”

Rusty and Misty carried the things back to where they had found them and put them away.  Wiggles followed them on his leash, wagging as they walked.

“Okay, now that you’re done, Mom and I have a surprise for Wiggles.”

Rusty said, “Really?”

“What?” Misty asked.

“Come on, we’ll show you.”

They all walked toward the front of the store where Mom and Dad showed them a blue travel carrier they had picked out for the little dog.  Wiggles sniffed at the carrier and wagged his tail.

“He likes it!” Misty said.

After they paid for the leash and carrier cage, Rusty walked wiggles back out to their van.  Misty held open the door of the cage while they put him in.

“Does he have to ride in there?” she asked.

“Yes, it’s safer, honey,” Mom said.

“Like if we get in a wreck?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, Wiggles, we’ll play when we get home.”

When they got home, Rusty let Wiggles out and he ran inside the house with them.  Misty bent down to pet him, saying, “You’re ours now!  You get to stay here forever!”

Wiggles rubbed up against her leg while she petted him.  Rusty bent down to pet him, too.  Wiggles licked his hand and pawed back at him.  “See, Misty, he’s happy even without all that stuff from the store.”

“I know.  That’s because he’s got us.”

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Discuss the story with your children.

Why did Rusty and Misty keep picking up all that stuff from the store shelves?

Did Wiggles need these things?

Why was Wiggles happy when he got home?

Because he had friends.

Do things make us happy?

Only for a little while.

What did Wiggles learn was more important than new things?

People.

What is more important than things to us?

God, family, church, friends.

What do we learn about being greedy from Hebrews 13:5?

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Read the following scripture with the family:

The Big Let Down

Ecclesiastes 5:10-20

He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.   When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?  The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.  But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.

And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?  All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.  Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.  For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.

King James Version, public domain.

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Read the following scripture with the family:

Name something you received that made you really happy.

How long does it usually take before new things stop making us happy?

Refer to things mentioned earlier.

What does this passage mean when it says “the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep” ?

People who have a lot of stuff can’t relax for fear they will lose it.

In the last paragraph, who gives us good things and who fills our hearts with joy?

Share a time when you experienced this.

How does this concept align with our memory verse, Hebrews 13:5?

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Memory Verse:

Hebrews 13:5

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

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