How much stuff does a 3 year old and 6 year old really need? I was looking around the house and the garage and the shed, and I realize that probably a good 70% of stuff are for kids. Like, it’s not even toys. It like, outdoor stuff, activity stuff, books, and clothes! It’s just bonkers. Like I think we have like 5 giant bins of kid clothes. And honestly, there are probably a lot of stuff of kid’s things we could just get rid of, but the problem is how fast they grow. The speed in their physical and mental growth is insane. It goes by so fast that there is no time to organize and assess. It just like make space for what comes next!
So, my wife and I would throw away some of their old toys that we feel they don’t use anymore, which is like only about less than 10% of the 70% of stuff, but it’s a start. So we’d toss them and literally the next day, somehow, Norah is looking for that one toy she never played with for months. Then she’d ball her eyes out for the whole day.
So I tried to tell her, that it’s important that we get rid of our old stuff so we can make room for the new stuff. Or that it’s important to get rid of the lower level books, so she can focus on higher level reading books. We just can’t keep it all!
Which brings me to how we are to live as Christians. Our baptism is the beginning of living a new life. Baptism symbolizes that we are made new. Think about all the people that Jesus helped or healed or taught. We may think about the miracle of the healings, but the real miracle to me, is that these are people who committed themselves to live a changed life, and that they let go of their past in order to make room for the future.
Just as children, we have to get new clothes. We cannot keep wearing the shirt I wore when I was ten. It wont fit anymore. Nor can we keep it, because it’s just totally useless. When we think about growing in faith, it’s all about moving forward. If you feel that what you know and hold on to when you were taught as children about Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, the church, and you haven’t been taught anything new, then what good is it to you right now?
As we grow, life will get more and more complicated. The answers we found comforting when we were children, may not measure up to the situations you face today at age 30,40,50,60, and so on. You need to start asking bigger questions, and you need to start realizing that those complicating questions will force you to struggle. But that is growth.
Some things don’t change though. God loves you, Jesus is your Savior, the Holy Spirit is your guide, and the church is the manifestation of God’s providence on the earth. But we must start to think how is God showing you His love in times of struggle and pain? When does Jesus start becoming rather a teacher to a brother or friend? What does it mean when the Holy Spirit is forcing you to start moving off the beaten paths to the unexplored areas of living? What does it mean when the church is unlike the church you grew up when you were younger?
Are you holding onto things of the past or are you learning to let go of it? Are you preparing your life for the future or still reminiscing over the past? Yes God was back there and here now, with you. But don’t forget God is in front of you, with outstretched arms, waiting for you to come and follow Him. Telling you that you haven’t seen anything just yet.
My little girl Norah, 6 years old asked me this question about 2 nights ago before going to bed. I was amazed that she would ask such a question. She knew that heaven was a place that we all go when we die. I think that is wonderful that she knows this concept.
I feel that the only way she would even know this concept is because of our church and because of her coming to Sunday School. I am impressed that she can pick up things so much at church. I rarely tell her anything about church at home. Maybe at bedtime when we read stories in the Bible, but that is about it. I don’t think I have ever told her anything about heaven. So, I have many thanks to the church and the Sunday School teachers for guiding her well in Christian education.
So, if you wondered how I answered her this question, here it is. Heaven is a place that people in the Bible thought was “up there.” But in reality, heaven is a place that we can’t see or physically go when we are alive. It is like a realm that we can’t search on our own. It is a place that has no boundaries and no time. There is no place in our human world that exists.
But also, we can find truth’s of heaven within us. It is those moments when we feel peace, love, and joy. Those moments cannot be captured in time and when you feel those moments, we feel that time, obligation, worry, and stress disappear. Sometimes those moments are short, but we experience them every day. And that is like God telling us, He is here with us, it’s like God is giving us a big hug when we experience those moments of peace, love, and joy.
Norah just looked at me… not too sure if any of that made sense to her. Then I sang Belinda Carlisle’s song, “Heaven on Earth.” You know…
Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth.
They say in Heaven, love comes first.
We’ll make Heaven a place on Earth.
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth.
So… she decided Daddy’s sings isn’t good enough and went to bed. So, Sunday School teachers, I leave it to you to do what you do best! Because apparently Pastor Daddy is awfully confusing to a 6 year old.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).