Most of the time, the toys included in the kids’ meal at fast food joints are cheap and not designed to stand the test of time. However, it is interesting to watch how children respond to these toys. My daughter is a great example. From time-to-time she’ll fall in love with one of those toys. We still have some of those toys in her room. She gets that naturally. When I was 11 I bought a couple of toys out of a vending machine in Japan for what was then 200 yen. At the conversion rate at the time, that put the toys at less than a dollar a piece. It was one of those machines where you don’t know what you’re going to get. It’s a surprise and that’s part of the magic. I remember getting this plastic robot and a soccer ball that you had to put together (about the size of a golf ball). I think both of those are still at my parents’ house some 26 years later.
I remember back to one of the times when I thought I had lost that robot. I was heart broken. It was after we had come back to the states and I was in junior high school then. I looked everywhere for it. I didn’t dare say anything to my parents because I knew the response, “It’s just a cheap toy! You’ve got plenty more!” Truth be told, this is not something I should have held on to so tightly. My devotion to that cheap piece of plastic is amusing in hindsight. And I see the same behavior in children all the time with respect to those cheap kids’ meal toys. They hold on to something that we as adults realize is pretty meaningless in our culture of over-abundance. But can we say we are any different?
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. – Luke 9:24, ESV
Anything we achieve or get in this lifetime won’t stand the test of time. We could rise to be president of the United States, we could own our dream home, we could get to drive a NASCAR stock car, or we could meet Miss America, but in the perspective of eternity, what does any of that matter? We could meet every career-oriented goal, see the entire world, and write a bestselling book loved and adored by millions. Again, however, through the lens of eternity, none of that matters. When it comes down to it, the only thing that does is whether or not we have received the gift of grace and salvation through Christ. Anything and everything else is like a cheap kids’ meal toy.
Yet we get locked on to so much that doesn’t matter. We make fun of each other and tease each other over choice of sports teams. We become obsessed over project goals and deliverables. We drool over the latest fast car or the latest “hot” man or woman to come into the limelight. We focus on a nagging issue between a fellow church member, brooding over it rather than addressing it and reconciling it. Or we pour all of energy into a relationship with someone other than Jesus to the detriment of our relationship with Jesus. In the scope of eternity, all of these things will fade away.
I realize that most folks would disagree with the viewpoint that career goals, personal relationships, and our standard of living are unimportant. If you don’t have Jesus’ perspective on eternity, then it’s hard to see things for what they are. We shouldn’t expect non-Christians to see the world like Jesus sees it. But as Christians we need to see things through our Savior’s eyes. In other words, as they really are. It’s not that career goals and personal relationships are unimportant. They are important, but when compared to our relationship with Jesus, that importance is dwarfed by the magnitude of our Lord. And with that perspective comes a willingness to give up things, to sacrifice what others consider as all important, for the greater relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s the point Jesus is making here.
See, if we get focused on these other things, then we miss out on the greatest thing. If we try to live our lives cautiously, to not take the big risks God may ask of us, we don’t get to experience the fullness of what a strong faith and trust in the Son will give us. There are no risks with God. When we say risk, we are saying that it’s a risk based on the world’s perspective. With God, anything He ordains is certain. It will happen. And if we live our lives like that, if we are willing to do it His way even following through with actions that seem like madness to the world, we truly live our lives to the fullest even if it costs us our earthly lives. There is something greater than anything that happens in this lifetime. We’ve got to be ready and willing to lose the things this world holds as most important to gain what is truly important. Are you ready? Are you willing? Don’t miss out!