How does the “I Want List” look at your house after Christmas? I was at the dentist this morning getting my semi-annual cleaning and the hygienist asked if my kids got everything they wanted for Christmas. I replied – probably not – (because who can keep track of all the things another person wants but never says out loud until they don’t get it!) and just before an instrument went into my mouth I said – but they have everything they need.
How is your “I Want List”? Is it growing or are you content? What about your children’s? What types of things are on the list, things for yourself, others, the world? There are moments when I feel exasperated at the verbal list shared with me from a child about all the things they want so soon after Christmas. But I have to admit that it is much too easy for me to gather a mental want list myself. Wouldn’t it be nice if all our wants were settled at once and we could check off the list altogether once and for all?
1 John 2 speaks to our wanting, but maybe not in the way we would like to hear. Eugene Peterson paraphrases verses 15 – 17 in the Message this way:
Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world – wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important – has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out- but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
If we want to get the loving and God stuff right in our lives, John makes it clear that loving the world is not the answer. If we want to end the ongoing ever growing wanting in our lives and for our children’s lives John instructs that we have one thing on our “I Want List” – Want what God wants.
How do we know what God wants? The same way we know what the people in our lives want – by spending time with them, talking with them, and asking.
Read through 1 John 2 several times. With older children read it together with them. Spend some time talking with your children about what they have on their want list. Then look to see if anyone put wanting what God wants. Talk about things that last – and that wanting want God wants sets us for eternity. If you don’t have a plan to spend time with God make one for yourself and for you and your children together.
Here’s to a shorter “I Want List”,