Today is my little boy’s 4th birthday.
Since he is the third of four children, and has two older brothers, it is very rare that he gets anything brand new. In fact, it’s usually been used twice before. Oh sure, it’s new to him, and he’s happy as a clam to get it. But in my view, I am constantly offering him hand-me-down clothes, toys, shoes, lunchboxes, you get the idea. And I really try to take the opportunity of his birthday to get him something brand spanking new.
So for the last few weeks, I have been asking him what he would like for his birthday present. At first, he replied: “A big cake!” and a little later, “A present!”
Then his brothers tried talking some sense into him: “Eamon, you should ask mom for a cool present, like a new movie, or a Wii game, or a Nintendo DS.”
Soon enough, his birthday requests became: “A SpongeBob movie”! (a show that isn’t even allowed in our house) and “A Super Mario Wii game!” (the one his brothers have been coveting) and even “A DS!” (which costs around $150).
As I watched the progression from the simple request of a cake to the outrageous request for a Nintendo DS at 4 years old, I realized how much we let the world (or older brothers, in his case) influence our decisions.
How many times have I gone shopping as a social activity and suddenly needed those new shoes I saw in the window? Or seen Double Stuff Oreos on sale at the grocery store and added them to my cart? Even driving through a ritzy neighborhood recently made me envious of the gorgeous houses that I will most likely never have. And don’t even get me started on food cravings late at night whenever I see a commercial for pizza.
When we start allowing ourselves to get caught up in the material possessions of the world, we can never be truly happy. We must constantly remind ourselves that life is not a game of acquiring “stuff”; it’s about becoming detached to our “stuff” to merit eternal life. Luke 12:20 states: “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
The simple things in life are what truly make us happy: faith, health, family, and friends. Eamon had it right when he asked solely for a cake on his birthday, a simple pleasure that would have made him very happy.
May we all remember the ever-so-wise words of the Veggie Tales Thankfulness Song:
Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I’m glad for what I have,
That’s an easy way to start!
Being thankful for what we have instead of miserable for what we lack is the best way to live our life on Earth and gain eternal life in Heaven. And then we can experience true happiness forever, and have as much cake as we want!
Copyright 2010 Colleen Martin