Toddler Rules: Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday

October 24, 2011

I’ve been thinking about writing a post about toddlers and teens because when you think about it, they’re similar in a lot of ways.

But I was unprepared for the revelation my ego received in church this morning. The pastor said, “Many Christians are still playing the game of life by toddler rules.”

Hmm…a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Ouch.

In Acts 4:32-37, we read of a time when “all the believers were one in heart and mind.” They shared everything; they sold land and brought the money to those who needed it. It’s a beautiful picture.

This story has important lessons in the context of radical giving, but it spoke clearly to me this morning about radical living.

But there are those “toddler rules” that often get in the way. Here’s one.

Who’s in charge? (Toddlers answer, “I’m in charge.”)

Yes, unfortunately, that’s often me. I mistakenly think I’m in charge of my life. (Mary Engelbreit’s Queen of Everything comes to mind.) And if I’m in charge, then I make all these decisions about how to live my life with my own “wisdom.”

How did the believers in Acts avoid the “I’m in charge” mentality? Reading the passage leading up to verse 32 yields an answer. Look at what they did. First they prayed and, in Acts 4:24, they acknowledged that absolutely everything came from Him. Then they asked for boldness, and they got it.

Another “toddler rule” that gets in the way?

What will I get out of it?

How often do I give – just give – out of love and thankfulness? Undeservedly, to the biggest rascal or offender, with joy? (Paul really steps on my toes here…)

How did the Christ followers in Acts avoid getting caught in the “what’s in it for me” trap? Again, look where they started – with Him. First, they acknowledged Him as the source of all things. It’s Him that matters. And if He has it all and loves us, can’t we trust that He’ll give what we need when we need it?

So I back up to Acts 4:23 again and realize that this wonderful prayer that attributes everything to God came on the heels of Peter and John being hauled before the Sanhedrin. They were commanded not to speak in Christ’s name; they were threatened. They were mistreated.

So what did they do? They prayed and gave Him the glory for all—good and bad, big and small.

is coming, and I have gratitude on the mind. My goal? Gratitude through it all.

So maybe I can leave those toddler rules behind. With His help.

Will you join me on my gratitude quest in November?

Linking up today with Michelle at Graceful for Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday. Click on over and come along with us!


seashore said...

I often find myself following these toddler rules. I know so often I find myself doing the very same things that my students do that annoys me so much. Sometime we need to take a step back and examine our own life. Thanks for the reminder.

Unknown said...

ouch. so true.

Laura said...

I am hearing this loud and clear! Our scripture this morning came slightly after those verses: Ananias and Saphira. That is a tough one, but I left asking myself: Have I been holding back on God? That's a big ouch too.

Great post, Laura!

Clella said...

Good post Laura. I did some thinking and then some praying after reading it. Love Clella

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