I know a boy who is starting to love comic books. He received this one from a the kid’s meal at a nearby restaurant.
Like most kid’s meal toys, what’s trash to the momma is treasure to the child.
Today I was deeply focused on a task. He asked for help “fixing” his comic book.
“Throw it away and besides, I’m busy.”
I’ve been working on this knee-jerk response lately. I’ve been pausing and asking myself, “Am I really too busy to help this time?”
Well, you see, I’ve been realizing that my relationship with my son is a bit like pie.
Right now, his problems seem small and insignificant to me. We’re at the skinny, pointy first bite of pie. If he’s one side of the pie, and I’m the other, if I blow off a request for help, I haven’t really created THAT much distance between us relationally.
However, let’s eat off a few years of time and fast forward to the future – the wide back part of the piece of pie, near the crust.
As a teenager, the problems he might bring to me are probably bigger and more significant – things like, “Why is it really a problem to do drugs?”, and “My friend at school just got his girlfriend pregnant. Now what?”
You see, over time, if I’ve been telling him that I’m too busy to help with his problems, now he has more distance relationally to cross between us to know that I’m a safe person to trust with these big concerns.
It really brings to mind for me the story of the parable Jesus told. Here’s my semi-modern version of the story. A king forgave a servant a million dollar debt – wow! The servant went out and saw an old buddy who owed him $50. He harassed his friend for the $50 and called the collectors and eventually re-possessed $50 of his things.
Guess how happy the king was to hear of the servant’s attitude toward his friends? He was livid and made the servant repay his million dollar debt after all.
You see, although this story is about forgiveness rather than time, it proves a point: God is generous toward me!
What if I showed some of this same generosity toward my own children?
I gave it a try today. I happily helped my son tape together the broken edge of his beloved comic book (that I’d like to throw away).
You know how much time it took?
I almost took a huge punch at my son’s trust that I care about his problems with my I’m-too-busy-and-stingy-with-my-time attitude…over 30 SECONDS!
Son, I pray I remember this lesson. You are always worth 30 seconds (and more!) of my time.
MATTHEW 18:21-35 (NIV)
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”