There is an adorable little girl in our church. We love her so much. She is around 4 years old, and she is the cutest little thing you have ever seen. There is a small problem, though. She is undisciplined, so she can get into trouble quicker than you can catch her to stop her. One of the nasty habits she has picked up is rummaging through other people's bags at church. We guard our pocket books closely because if we don't we will find her wandering around the church carrying our sunglasses, water bottles, or wallets.
I have chosen to use the opportunity to teach her authority and respect for the property of others. When she goes to reach in my bag, with a firm but loving voice I say, "Dina, no. That's mine." Inevitably, she reaches in the bag again every time. I grab her hand, firmly push it away, and again say, "Dina, no. That's not yours. That's mine." Sometimes I will bring things to share with her like a toy. I will wait until she is looking and then I will reach in my bag. I grab the toy and give it to her. "Dina, here. Take this. You may play with this."
Sometimes she gets a pen from someone's bag. As I am sitting in church, I turn to see the young girl wielding the mighty object of destruction. With a songbook as her coloring book, the young child happily makes her mark in the world. I jump up and take pen and book from her. "No, Dina. That's not good." She must learn to take care of other people's things.
She is learning, but it will take time. She is worth the effort.
Psalm 24:1 "The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."
I am sometimes am just like Dina more than I realize.
Everything in the earth is the Lord's. It all belongs to Him. Sometimes I want to take things that are His, and He says, "No." I get upset and keep trying because I really want it. He continues to push my hand away and says, "No. That's mine and you may not have it." Honestly, I really would love a dishwasher, endless supply of cheddar cheese, Krispy Kreme donuts, and vehicles that never break down. I would love my oldest child sitting at the Thanksgiving table, and to hear my Dad's voice once more. But those things belong to God. He has chosen to say, "No, you may not have it." Do I keep grabbing at those things like Dina grabbing in my bag?
Sometimes He lets me have some things to "play" with. They are still His, though. Sometimes He finds me destroying His property and not taking care of it like I should. I think of my time. It's actually His time because I belong to Him. Sometimes I waste time. Much like Dina coloring in the hymnal, I abuse His property of time.
I think of my husband and children. They really don't belong to me. They belong to Him. Am I treating them with the respect I should? I would never color in the church hymnals, but do I color on the hearts of my family with my words?
I think of the home He has allowed me to live in. Am I taking care of it? Am I using it for His glory?
I think of the ministry. It's not my ministry. It's His. Do I give my best? Do I do damage to His ministry with my actions?
The "fulness" of the earth is His. That means whatever is in the earth belongs to Him. Do I respect His property? Do I take without permission? Do I damage His property?
Just as I think Dina is worth the time and effort to train, God also thinks that of me. I want to be teachable.