The other day while we were out for a walk, Cam became quite enamored with a lamppost.
A little odd, I know, but he was smitten.
You have to admit, it's a lovely lamppost, kinda reminiscent of the one in Narnia. Of course, Cameron doesn't know about Narnia - yet - so he didn't even know he could pretend it was magical.
Cam liked the lamppost so much that when it was time for us to head home, he decided he'd like to take the lamppost with him.
I felt for the kid, I did. It was a cool lamppost. But still a lamppost. So, I very sweetly explained to him that he couldn't take it with him. It was much too heavy for him to carry on his own, and besides, he had no need for it at home.
At first, he didn't believe me.
He pushed on it.
He pulled on it.
I think he even tried to will it out of the ground with his best stare.
But as admirable as his determination was, that lamppost wasn't going anywhere.
He couldn't take it with him.
As with most things we learn as toddlers, we as adults tend to forget the simple lessons. Why we tend to be so driven to attain more and more stuff is baffling to me. Stuff, stuff, stuff. Enormous houses, fancy cars, designer clothes (and shoes and bags and jewelry), status, position, and of course, money.
Don't get me wrong, I'm guilty too. There are plenty of things I want and convince myself I need for whatever ridiculous reason. Sometimes I buy things just because they're on a good sale, never mind whether or not I can actually use them (or...ahem...afford them). And now that I'm a Mommy, I'm worst about buying and "collecting" things for the boys. For example, I think we have about 692 more toys than we actually need (or play with on a regular basis).
Now, I'm not saying that having goals and aspirations, aiming for promotions, or buying things are wrong or that we shouldn't desire them. That's ridiculous. But it's also ridiculous to pursue these things with the expectation that we can somehow take them with us.
And the thing is, the more emphasis we place on attaining things just for the sake of having them, or the more we convince ourselves that we need them (for whatever reason), the greater a burden we carry. We become stuck within a self-imposed expectation to perpetually attain the same level, if not more, of what we already have. The stress and pressure can only continue to grow in a system like this; the burden is huge and heavy.
I do this too, even though as a believer in Christ, I know I can't take it with me.
19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy,
and where thieves break in and steal.
20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where moth and rust do not destroy,
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)
When I die, I'm not going to load up a wagon and schlep it all to heaven. And why would I want to? Given the choice between the things of this earth and the treasures in heaven, it's not a difficult decision. Pretty much a no-brainer, isn't it? The things of heaven are beautiful, perfect, and eternal. Earthly things are trash by comparison. All the same, though it's not a difficult decision, we are human after all. Something is often lost between decision and implementation. And there I am, back to collecting earthly treasures as if I can take them all with me.
What foolishness this all is!
At some point, if I believe in Christ and His Word, I have to realize and accept that this world is not my home. Heaven is my home, and I cannot take the things of this world home. Besides, how convicting is it to realize that if I am stuck on the things of this world, so is my heart? (Matt. 6:21) Wow. That, I believe, is the primary point of the whole set of verses, minding the condition of my heart. I want my heart set on heavenly things, not earthly things. Perfect things, not imperfect things. Eternal things, not temporal things. Don't you?
In the end, Cameron did realize and accept that he couldn't take the lamppost home. And that, of course, turned out to be just fine. He forgot all about it as we journeyed home. It would have been a huge burden anyway.