Should We Be Quick To Buy Things For Our Kids?

should we give our kids stuff blogMost every parent has been there. You are walking down the store aisle minding your buisness when your child spots a brightly colored new toy. You feel the tug at your heart strings. You love your little guy and can see that the yellow ball with an odd bumpy texture is bringing him unlimited joy. But at the same time, you had not planned to buy him anything. But then you look back into those little eyes, and his kindly, sheepish grin breakouts. What do we do?

Well if you grew up in a situation similar to my background and to my wife’ background, we simply tell him,  “N..O… no.” Our parents had no quandary when we asked for them stuff because they had no money. “We can’t afford that right now,” was a common mantra for both of us.

But what if we do have money, what if we can afford to buy our kids a new toy or video game when they ask? Should we do it?

On the one hand, God says it is good to give gifts.  And, we should seek to imitate our heavenly father by giving our kids good things (Matt. 7:11). We should seek to loving care for our children by sacrificing our wants for their needs.

But before we rush to the checkout line with our kid’s new ball, we also need to think about what our new purchase will teach our child. Often when our child becomes fascinated with a new ball, video game, or pair of shoes, she is coveting. She is seeking satisfaction in something other than Jesus. And when we buy our kid the latest copy of Madden or the new pair of Nike’s, we are helping him pursue his latest idol. We are enabling him for a brief moment to find his happiness and identity in something other than Jesus.

And of course our kids will love us when, we give them what they want. They will try to reward us with hugs, complements, and an occasional day of good behavior. They always like it when we help them achieve their idols.

But often giving our kids the things they want is not the most loving thing a parent can do. Satisfaction, happiness, and joy are only found in Jesus. As Psalm 73:25-26 says,

Whom have I in heaven but you?

    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever

Consequently, we want to parent in such a way that our kids are taught to find their satisfaction in Christ. We should not throw money and time behind their every desire. We should rebuke a greedy, covetous heart and redirect it to Jesus.

And here is another thing to remember. Even if our kids get everything they want on earth, they will not be happy. Life is found is God and not in video games, shoes, or travel teams. Earthly things will eventually disappoint. Games will become outdate, shoes wear out, and travel ball eventually becomes boring. If you doubt me, just think about how many of your kids’ toys you’ve already gotten rid of.

Now I am not saying that you should never give your kid a gift. And I am not saying that we can always prevent our kids from misusing the things we give them. What I am trying to get at is this: the decision concerning whether or not to buy our kids something is bigger than the size of our budget. It goes to a heart issue. We should be willing to lovingly deny our kids things for the sake of the gospel. Love is not fulfilling our kids’ dreams. Love is pointing them to Jesus. Are we doing this?

God Doesn’t Want Your Old Toys

When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? – Malachi 1:8

old toys

Instead of retiring Woody and Buzz to Andy’s attic, Christian parents often take the toys to their church. But sadly most of the toys left on the church’s doorstep don’t resemble a freshly minted Buzz Light Year. Often the donations more closely resemble the freakishly destroyed toys of Sid’s bedroom. Nothing like a baby doll attached to a metal spider. (See the video below)  “Sally, the key is pretending that the baby doll is soft.” And if our kid’s ministries take on the feel of Sid’s room, we don’t just a have décor problem; we have a huge spiritual problem. 

The Big Problem

Every time, we donate a broken toy or drop off a stained couch at church, we declare God to be worthless. By giving God our leftovers, we are telling the world that the God who created the universe is second best. We get to Him after we take care of ourselves. Oh and God’s house, it’s nothing more than the closest Goodwill center.

God isn’t impressed by our casts offs. It’s not too hard to get why. You wouldn’t send your old couch to the Governor’s office or give his kids your broken toys in an effort to persuade him to increase teacher salaries. Why? Because the governor and his family already have nice things. Your junk will not move him to take up your cause. And your junk won’t impress God. King David expressly says that we should never give God that which costs us nothing. When we give God our worthless things, we declare him worthless. God takes offense at such actions.

The Solution

Instead of bringing junk to God’s house. Bring your best. Bring your first fruits. Drop off the new toy car at church. Bring the unblemished doll to the nursery. Go get your kids new toys, but bring the best new toy to Jesus. He is the great king. We need to treat him as such. We need to view of him as worthy of our worship, finances, and very life. To do anything else is to commit idolatry.

 We need to change our mindset by remembering what God has given us. First, we recall that God gave us physical life. And second we remember that he gives us spiritual life. In short, He gives us all things necessary for physical and spiritual life. And when we remember this truth, we cannot help but worship him with all that we have.

At the end of the day no one has to give anything to the preschool ministry. We are called to give joyfully as God moves us. But if we decided to bring toys to church, we need to bring the best toys not the broken and the discarded ones. Admittedly our best toys may not always be the newest or the flashiest. The widow’s mite brought God the more glory than all the money bags of the rich. And one of FBCE’s most popular preschool toy was used. But the toys was still a real and costly gift for that person. As such, it, like the widow’s mite, brought glory to God. At the end of the day, God is concerned with our heart more than the quantity or size of the gift.

What are we bringing to God?