The atmosphere in the home was full of conversation, laughter, and joy. There was a sweet spirit of Christian fellowship in the air. The meal began and everyone filed through the line and filled their plates with the delicious food. As food and conversation permeated the evening air, all of a sudden we heard a crash, a few stumbles and crying. Parents went on full alert as we tried to determine what happened, who was hurt, and how bad it was.
A child coming downstairs had fallen on the last few stairs. Thankfully, the fall was a minor one. Nothing broken and the only thing bruised was ego. The dad went to check his child and help clean up the mess. Within a few minutes, the spilled hamburger and chips were picked up. The child got a new plate and proceeded happily, albeit with more caution.
The father came back to our little group, which had observed these things from afar. Explaining what happened, he said, “As he went down the stairs, I told him to hold onto the rail. When I later asked him why he didn’t do that, his reply was ‘Dad, my hands were already too full with other things.’” I love it when kids write my bulletin articles for me.
Can you relate? I know I can. I have stumbled many times because instead of holding onto what mattered most, I filled my hands, my head, and my heart with too many lesser things. Oh, the burdens we carry! Oh, the stress we take on! Oh, the time and energy we waste, simply because we try filling our lives with and holding onto things that do not matter.
And we, like the child, forget or perhaps simply refuse to hold onto that which we need the most. Jesus put it this way: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
As a busy summer winds down and a new school year begins, I realize myself that I have too often filled my hands and my heart with lesser things. But, Jesus, patient as ever, constantly bids us to seek first that which is higher, better, and more lasting. Spending time with God, praying with others, reading the Bible, fellowshipping with other Christians, sharing faith, and encouraging others are just a few of the kingdom things we can be seeking first. In eternity, these are things that will matter most.
Do a little “checkup from the neck up” and ask yourself: Do the things I am holding onto so tightly really matter? May we cling tightly to things that matter most, for these are the things that keep us from falling the hardest.