33) A Little Child Will Lead Them

From Nightlight:A Devotional for Parents, by James and Shirley Dobson, 
Multnomah, 2002, pp. 214-215.

     We do want to be effective parents. There is so much to teach our kids, and so little time.  But as we struggle and strain to bestow wisdom on the next generation, we might also pause to consider how much our children can teach us.

     I recall a story by a woman named Elizabeth Cobb about a mother who wanted to show her children how to be more generous.  After a tornado had touched down nearby, the mother taped a newspaper picture of a now homeless family on their refrigerator.  The photo included the image of a tiny girl, her eyes wide with confusion and fear.  The mother explained this family’s plight to her seven-year-old twin boys and three-year-old daughter, Meghan.  Then, as the mother sorted out old clothes, she encouraged her boys to select a few of their least favorite toys to donate.

   While the boys brought out unwanted playthings from their rooms, Meghan slipped quietly into her own room and returned hugging something tightly to her chest.  It was Lucy, her faded, frazzled, and much-loved rag doll.  Meghan paused in front of a pile of discarded toys, pressed her round little face against Lucy’s for a final kiss, then laid the doll gently on top.

     “Oh, honey,” the mother said.  “You don’t have to give away Lucy.  You love her so much.”  Meghan nodded solemnly, eyes glistening with held-back tears.  “Lucy makes me happy, Mommy,” she said.  “Maybe she’ll make that other little girl happy, too.”

     The twins stared open-mouthed at their baby sister.  Then, as if on cue, they wordlessly walked to their rooms and returned not with castoffs, but with some of their prized toy cars and action figures.  The mother, now almost in tears herself, removed a frayed coat from the pile of clothes and replaced it with a just-purchased green jacket.  The parent who had wanted to teach her kids about generosity had instead been taught.

   Meghan intuitively knew that her beloved rag doll was not hers to keep forever.  Though she could not have explained it, she understood the meaning of the Scripture that says, “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs.  He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand” (Ecclesiastes 5:15).  When Meghan realized that another little girl needed Lucy more than she did, she willingly gave up her cherished toy.  

     God wants us to use our possessions, our wealth, our talents, and our very lives to bring glory to Him.


II Corinthians 9:11 — You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 

Psalm 37:26 — (The righteous) are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.

Isaiah 11:6 — The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.


     O Lord Jesus Christ, who though you were rich became poor for us, grant that all our desire for and covetousness of earthly possessions may die in us, and that the desire of heavenly things may live and grow in us.  Keep us from all idle and vain expenses that we may always have enough to give to him who is in need, and that we may not give grudgingly out of necessity, but cheerfully.  Through your grace may we partake of the riches of your heavenly treasure.  Amen.  —Treasury of Devotion