Updated: Dec 6, 2018
When I was a young boy, my family would take trips to an amusement park called Eldridge Park. Amusement parks in those days only had one rollercoaster, but a variety of other rides including the tilt-a-whirl, Ferris wheel, bumper cars, mini-golf, and assorted other games for “the little kids,” made the trip worthwhile. Another part of every visit was a spin on the Merry Go Round.
I observed the Merry Go Round from the bench because, though my sister loved riding it, dizziness would attack me like ants on cake at a picnic. So there I’d sit as a colorful team of horses and their temporary owners went round and round. Big smiles beamed from their faces since, for three minutes, all was right with the world.
Striving for the Prize As I “patiently” waited and watched, two things stood out to me. One was the pig on the carousel and how the kids would rush to ride the pig instead of a horse like everyone else. The second was a gold unit that was mounted just off the main carousel. It had a trigger that people on the outside row would reach out and grab with their finger as they went by. You’d hear “click, click, click,” as each person reached out and grabbed the trigger.
Without warning, a bronze ring would slip down into the trigger and the person who grabbed it received a prize. It was fun for the riders, but spectators enjoyed it too. Our eyes focused on the trigger so we could witness the ring suddenly roll in. Then it was just a matter of which finger snatched the circlet.
Apparently, it wasn’t as easy as it appeared. Many would miss the ring as they went by, or worse, they would snag the ring and drop it. A bad turn for them was manna from Heaven for some little kid who would take it and joyously show doting parents his unexpected windfall.
A Challenging Question All this popped into my head during church today. However, daydreaming was not the trigger! While a prayer was offered, the Lord said, “Kent, why are you striving for what you already have?” Then a flashback of people reeeaching out for that bronze ring was replaced with the thought of me reeeaching out for who knows what.
I was reminded that Jesus said, “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT)
Today, I think Jesus would say, “So don’t worry about your to-do lists, your tablets, your emails, and ipads saying, ‘How can I get this done? Where will I find the time? Why am I always behind?’ These things preoccupy your thoughts and your lives, but your Heavenly Father has it all under control. Seek God today and His to-do list and He’ll take care of all that concerns you.”
The Truth is Sweet I have a wonderful wife, great kids, a home, food, loving family, friends, a great church, and that’s just the beginning of the list. The brass ring is already in my hand. I thank the Lord for reminding me of that.
How about you? Are you stretching with your left hand while ignoring the “brass ring” in your right? Jesus also said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. [John 14:27, NLT] Let go of the striving and give those desires to Him. In return, receive His peace that passes all understanding.