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An Illustration: Innocent, Cute, Little…

12/20/2011

Babies.  Most of the time, people love them.  They’re cute.  They’re almost hard not to love.  They’re cheek-pinchable, peek-a-booing, drooling little bundles of joy.  Or blobs of joy.

Then they grow up a little.  They become toddlers.  Or terrors.  Little terrors.   Sometimes their innocent, cute, little antics are just too much!  Don’t get me wrong–they’re still cute.  And they’re still little people.  So, I’ll admit: most of the time they’re fun to have around.  Most of the time.

One of the exceptions to that “most of the time” was yesterday at church. During the main service, a couple sitting in front of me decided to bring their toddler with them into the worship center.

Things started off well.  The kid was cute and seemingly well-behaved, and she sat there quite nicely in her mother’s lap.  But as time went on, the little girl grew a bit restless.  She started by looking around at the people around her.  They would smile, make a goofy face to make her smile, and turn their attention back to the front of the worship center.  As time went on, this wasn’t enough entertainment for the little the little girl got out of her mother’s lap and started walking back and forth in her pew row, drawing the attention of a few people in her row.

At first, things were fine.  The people would play with the girl, give her their hands, and smile at her.  Every now and then, her mother would scoop her back up and sit her back down for a minute.  The little girl would twist, turn, and get out of the pew again and walk back over to her new friends.  This process repeated itself several times.

After that became dull for the toddler, she pulled all of the offering envelopes and registration cards out of the pew in front of her.  After that, she grabbed a water bottle from her mother’s purse and repeatedly said in her little voice,” Wada.”  Then with a package of baby wipes in hand,” Wipe.”  The mother would oblige to her requests, trying to do whatever she could to quiet her child down and still somehow listen to the sermon.  What appeared at first an innocent, cute, little kid become a big distraction from the worship service.  The people around were struggling to pay attention to the sermon– at first because they were amused by the child, but later because they were almost annoyed by her constant activity.  If the service lasted a lifetime and that little child’s innocent curiosity continued the way it was going, she would have wreaked havoc on the whole worship center!

Often, I’m afraid that’s actually the case. We let “toddlers” run rampant in our lives.  Outside of the worship center.

These “toddlers” are things in our “worship service” lives that are inherently good.  When used appropriately, for the right reasons, and for the right amount of time, they’re fine.  It’s when we let them get out of hand that they detract from the original purpose of our lives– to bring glory to our great God through our lives.  They distract from our life’s worship.

The point isn’t to weed these things out.  It’s not sinful for these things to exist in our lives.  Instead, it’s the lack of discipline that is dangerous and distracting.  In a lifetime, these “toddlers” wreak havoc on our entire lives and have a profound impact on us spiritually.  If these “toddlers” are disciplined and well-behaved, they have every right to be in our “worship service” lives!

The trick is figuring out what those “toddlers” are for you.  Then installing discipline with them. Not an easy task.

And don’t ask why I remember so many details about the little kid.  I remember the sermon too, okay?!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 12/21/2011 5:27 pm

    so true. toddlers running around during service is a perfect example of learning to discipline even the “good” things in our lives. i never understood why parents made up their own rules about talking to kids during services, but in hindsight, i guess i do the same, just with different things in life.

    and it IS a little odd that you remember the toddler so well haha!

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