I am really excited about this next series. I started thinking about it at the beginning of summer and put out some feelers. The two responses I already have are so good I am sort of jealous I didn’t write them. Also, I am way open for submissions, so if you have a modern day thing that reminds you of a Spirit thing, send it my way. I would love to host it.
The kingdom of God is like the toys at the pool.
I found the pool toys in the bottom of my pool bag at the beginning of the season. It was on my list to do, to buy pool toys, but there they were, already waiting for me, I only needed to look to find them. This was not because I had been intentional last summer, or because I am well-coordinated or well-organized. I did nothing to deserve these pool toys, and yet here they were, waiting for me if I only had eyes to see. They were there, waiting for me to discover them.
I took the toys to the pool feeling as though they were a gift from God, but that didn’t even last a day. Pretty soon these toys were mine. They were mine. I spent the next two days trying to protect these things that were once gifts as something I needed to protect. I hugged them to my chest and told the girls to keep track.
Leave it to children to better understand the pool toys, they are after all like the kingdom of God. The girls handed the pool toys to anyone who wanted them. “What mom? We aren’t using them!” The pool toys were pretty soon all over the pool. How would I ever get them back?
The yelling didn’t really change the girls behavior. Nor did the stomping and threatening. It did make the other mothers at the pool give me a knowing and sympathetic look. I just had to let it go. I did, but I was annoyed about it.
And they all came back to me. They always did. When the kids were whistled out and it was time for adult swim our toys would be waiting for us by the sides of the pool, or patiently at the bottom easy for me to pick up in the silence of the waiting water. Often, our toys would come back to us with new friends attached. What good is a pool toy if you can’t play with someone else with it? A grateful mom or a girl or boy about our size. Sometimes Priscilla would make friends with older girls when the pool toys slipped into the deep end. I was afraid they would be annoyed, but having something to retrieve and being able to impress a three-year-old these are fun things to do at the pool.
A few days I did not trust the way the pool toys managed to come back to me and I hoarded them in my bag. I would not let them out of my sight, and my possession rendered them completely useless. What good is a pool toy if you will let no one play with it? Rendered useless because I believed there was one right way to play.
Sometimes we don’t come home with the exact kind and number of toys that we left with. We lose a squirter and gain a ring. And I could be mad that we lost our fish squirter, I could be annoyed that things were different from what I had originally. But that would mean forgetting that all of this was a gift in the first place. And if I am too annoyed that we have lost the fish squirter, I do not recognize the gift that the yellow ring is. We don’t need the squirters this year. My girls have taught themselves out to swim and we really could use an extra ring. But I can’t see that until I loosen the group on what I lost.
The kingdom of God is like the toys at the pool, it is a gift, but one that I must not hold onto too tightly. A kingdom of God that I do not share is completely missing the point. One that I hold too tightly is one that I am hurting. The yelling and screaming about the right way is not going to do anything. The kingdom of God will come back to me, and with friends, if only I will let it do what it is designed to do.
if you would like to participate in these modern day parables email me accidentaldevotional @ gmail dot com. They will be happening every Thursday until I run out.