Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
Johnny, as his friends and family called him, was a playful kid who was active all day. In school he worked hard and did well. His teacher was impressed with his participation and intelligence. However they wanted him to pay more attention to his homework. His homework at times suffered because Johnny loved to play. Sports, video games, board games, arts and crafts, the kid loved it all. He was also quite talented as both an artist and an athlete. His parents were delighted with their son. Occasionally dad would say “remember to do your homework Johnny.” In truth dad enjoyed playtime as much as Johnny.
Christmas was nearing and playful Johnny had his eyes on all sorts of games and toys. He made a rather impressive list and his dad was all too happy to receive it. It’s as if the presents were more for daddy than for Johnny. Dad set out to get them all. He checked on line first. Placed the orders carefully and made sure the estimated date of arrival was before Christmas. There were a few that were better to pick out at the stores and away Daddy went. It was certainly a fun day at the mall. The whole time daddy was thinking “Johnny is going to be so happy on Christmas and we are going to have so much fun”.
The gifts started to come in and everyday Daddy would unpack them and wrap them. Under the Christmas tree they would go. The whole time Johnny would make comments hoping to gather information on dad’s success at obtaining everything he wanted. But dad would not say a word. It was the game of Christmas. Johnny really had nothing to worry about; every year dad would get everything on the list.
Johnny had a hard time sleeping Christmas Eve, but was up early Christmas morning. He rushed into his parent’s room and woke them up. “It’s Christmas, It’s Christmas, come let’s go!” Johnny didn’t even wait for his parents to get up and rushed down the stairs. He grabbed one gift after the other, and, as he did every year, didn’t take out time to play with any of them until they were all unwrapped.
Johnny looked confused and began to check the presents again. He looked frustrated as if he had misplaced something. Then Johnny exclaimed, “Dad you didn’t get me the PS3 Martian ray riffle with the instant magnification lenses and natural grip!” Now dad seemed confused, frustrated and angry. He had been hoping all along to play with that himself. Holding his head, making a fist and with a sound of doubt he muttered “how is that possible, I placed the order three weeks ago, I thought it came, what happened?” This was not looking like a Merry Christmas.
Mom had to intervene. “Boys look at all the cool stuff you have to play with. Be thankful for what you have and don’t focus on what you don’t have. ” The boys still looking angry and disappointed with their arms folded and their heads down, began to look around. Finally Johnny picked up the glow football and hesitantly told his dad “You want to play with this Dad?” Dad answered “well alright” then dad lit up “Hey why don’t we call some of your friends and put together a real game?” “Sounds great dad”, Johnny shouted and they both ran out of the room in search of their coats.
Mom was left behind shaking her head and thinking “why is it that after everything we receive we are still not happy. Like Johnny we make our lists for God and when we don’t get something we are frustrated and focus on what we don’t have. We are easily disappointed when God says no or wait. We should focus on all God has done and provided. We should be thankful not angry.”
Paul in the epistle to Philippians encourages us to ask God for what we need and desire, but to always maintain an attitude of gratitude and not become anxious over all these things we request. (Philippians 4:6) God knows what we need and will provide. Let us be happy for all we have, and as for what we don’t have, let us leave it in God’s capable hands.