When Chase goes to sleep at night, a shower of stuffed animals pours over the sides of his bed. Poison dart frogs, a sea turtle, and a tattered elephant surround the twin mattress like loyal subjects waiting on their king. Two small lizards guard the foot of his bed, birthday party favors he begged to keep.
A black and green snake’s tail peeks out from under the pillow, his comfort from last night’s bad dream.
There’s a cheetah, at least three turtles, his precious baby puppy, two snakes, a brown squirrel, a smiling gorilla, a tiny humpback whale, various and sundry frogs, at least two bears…the list goes on.
Cole has a favorite pillow and enjoys snuggling up in bed, but for Chase there is nothing better than being the bottom layer of a stuffed animal sandwich. I find them under our couch and in the corner of the playroom, on the lanai and in my bathroom. A couple times I’ve even found stuffed animals peeking out from the sandbox.
It’s stuffed abundance.
When Chase receives birthday money or makes money helping around our house, stuffed animals are usually what he asks to buy. We remind him often how many he has, but that’s no deterrent. We know he’ll eventually grow out of his stuffed animal obsession, but for now he’s always on the lookout for one more.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the materialistic chant for “more, more, more!” Abundance is all around us in commercials, on the internet, and in the ads we pull out of the mailbox. We see nicer cars driving past on the road and better couch sets blazed across the back of the Sunday paper.
There are always clothing sales at Bealls and all kinds of beautiful plants at Home Depot. Kids’ shoes, books, toys of every shape and color, sparkling jewelry, cell phone accessories, home decorations, new cars….stuff, stuff, stuff.
We live in the midst of stuffed abundance.
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
I love 1 Timothy 6:6 & 7 because it’s a reminder that I came here empty-handed and I’ll leave empty-handed. I will take nothing with me to my eternal home. Not the beautiful engagement ring Trevor thoughtfully designed or the laptop I spend too many hours poring over. My car’s tags and license plate are for earth only and the home I live in will eventually fall prey to Florida’s UV rays. Metal rusts and wood rots.
The world says: “He who dies with the most toys wins.”
The Bible says: “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Hebrews 13:16
“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:17 & 18.
The people around us – loved ones, friends, family, co-workers – are the only worldly treasure we should seek. When I talk with my boys about the stuffed abundance in our lives, I pray I’m able to convey that truth to them. More than that, I pray our lives reflect it.
People matter; stuff does not.
Second to loving God with all our heart, soul and strength (Deut. 6:5), we are called to love and care for others (John 15:12, 17).
I pray our boys learn that having an abundance of worldy stuff will never fill the emptiness inside, because our soul longs for the eternal, not the temporary.
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3
Stuff is temporary. Jesus is eternal. You are created for eternity. Don’t attach yourself to the temporary; place your faith in the eternal. In Jesus.
You’ll be stuffed with the abundance of His love, forgiveness, and grace.