The Good China, Paper Plates and the Wisdom of a Nine Year Old

(image originally uploaded to Flickr by fattytuna)

About a month ago while me and my family were in Chicago for Conspire 2009, my wife was talking to our oldest son (9 years old) about what the word holy means. She explained that it literally means “to be set apart” or special. Too many times we confuse that holy means being perfect. She, then, went on to explain that it was sort of like our china… we use our china for special purposes. When we are holy, we are special sort of like our china is special.

My son jumped in saying that when we aren’t holy, it’s like being paper plates instead of china… wow! I was floored that he caught on so quickly and understood what we were trying to convey to him about being holy.

If that wasn’t enough, he went on to say that there are some people who think they are better china than others, and they treat other people like paper plates. He ended by saying that we need to treat the people around us like china and not paper plates.

It was at that moment that I had trouble seeing where I was driving. I still get emotional even thinking about the amazing grasp and simplicity with which he stated what so many of us who claim to follow Christ miss. He understood and could articulate in his own words loving God and loving others.

It’s moments like those that remind me that I can do nothing to make my child grow spiritually. No amount of family devotions or memory verses or family ministry curriculum can make children grow spiritually. God’s Spirit is the one responsible for that. All I (or any other parent) can do is daily give my children over to God and model for them what a surrendered life to God looks like… bumps, messups and all.

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