I had just finished a carpentry project when I looked up to see 8 eyes, belonging to children aged 6,8,10 and 12 watching me. “Daddy, can we use those boards to build a club house?" they asked. “Pleeeeease."
I looked at my scrap pile, which I had considered a kindling pile, and looked back at those 8 eyes. I didn’t want to build a club house, but I didn’t want to discourage my children either.
“Listen, kids. We would need more boards. And that would take some money. Are you willing to buy more boards? How much money do you have?"
They huddled briefly and disappeared into the house. A few minutes later they reappeared. “OK! We’ve got money for boards. It’s on the table."
They grabbed my hand and led me into the dining room where I discovered an assortment of bills and coins, wadded, folded and mounded in a pile. “Well, let’s see what we have here." It came to twenty dollars and fourteen cents, undoubtedly the net worth of these four.
“Is that enough? Is it?"
“Well, it is a good start. Maybe your mom and I can chip in too."
“All right! We get a club house!"
So Janice and I chipped in about $500 and we built a two story clubhouse with electricity, three windows, a pitched roof, a hinged door and vinyl siding. The kids helped as much as they were able and for the rest of their childhoods they had their own club house. They used it for overnight camp outs, for hide and seek, for good guy-bad guy, for hiding from neighbors they had offended and for sometimes hiding from me. Our grandchildren still play in the same clubhouse.
Why am I telling this story? Because we can learn a lot from children. When Jesus challenged us to be as little children he undoubtedly was thinking of the simple trust that children have in their fathers. We assent to this truth, but do we practice it? Or do we adults limit what God can do because we are able to calculate and figure and determine the ultimate extent of our gifts and contributions? Do we become dull in our faith because we look outward instead of upward? Would we believe that twenty dollars and fourteen cents could build a clubhouse? It was a child who brought the fishes and loaves to Jesus so he could feed the 5000. Would we have done the same?
Do you ever feel like you have so little that it is of no use? Do you ever feel that your gifts are inconsequential? Do you think in terms of “what you can accomplish" or in terms of what God can accomplish?
What if we were to truly become as children? We would be excited about the dreams God gives us. We would learn to expect the impossible. We would truly believe that our “daddy" can do anything we ask of him. After all, if we only have twenty dollars and fourteen cents, he has unlimited resources to add to it. Let’s give him a chance.