“Olive, I have something for you!” I called, peeking my head into the kitchen.
With delighted expectancy shining on her three-year-old face, my sister tumbled into the living room, slid across a scattering of card-stock, and crashed into a pile of sweat shirts. I was purging my possessions in preparation for college, and the living room had been converted into what looked like an exploded thrift store. I tugged a small box loose from the chaos, opened it, and placed a miniature doll in Olive’s outstretched arms.
“Ooooh,” Olive squealed, “Thank you, Avery! She’s so pretty! Look at the pretty pink dress!”
I waited for her initial rapture to subside as she admired the lacy frills and finery.
“Her name is Elizabeth.”
Olive whirled around, clutching the doll to her chest and stamping her feet.
“No!” she informed me fiercely, “Not A-liz-ah-bath. Her name is Niña!”
Dumbly, I watched as my sister proceeded to yank off the doll’s dainty slippers and stockings. She grabbed a nearby knick-knack, a tiny rocking chair, and forced the hapless “Niña” into it.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t the rough treatment or the renaming that bothered me. I was simply jealous that Olive was playing with the doll. I had kept Elizabeth hidden in storage, guarding her golden ringlets rather than enjoying her in the way she was designed to be enjoyed.
I looked around the room, strewn with eighteen years of of belongings. How many of those things, I wondered, had I failed to enjoy out of fear –the fear of marring their beauty?
Jesus often spoke of The Kingdom belonging to the children, those with trust, faith, humility, and innocence. Watching Olive play with my old doll, I recognized another implication of Jesus’ words.
Children are not afraid to hug the stuffed animal until it ragged, scratch the toy drum, or doodle a forest’s worth of paper. They are not economical; they spend beauty recklessly.
When it comes to temporal things, this attitude is destructive. Limited resources compell us to be responsible and frugal. But when it comes to the treatment of heavenly treasures, we ought to make children our models.
We need not hide the Gospel Light under a bushel for fear that it will be extinguished. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the Word of God is evergreen. We cannot exhaust the riches of Christ. We will never sound the depths of eternal beauty.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”
Romans 11:33 (ESV)
"The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever."
Isaiah 40:8 (ESV)