This happened a while back, but it is still fresh in my memory.
“Can Mama have it back?”
Standing on the other side of the living room, I could see that our toddler, just shy of two months to being two years old, really wanted another one. She had a box of chocolates in her lap, her little hands wrapped around the box and her head tilted down staring at these little goodies.
After all, this was the first time she had chocolate.
Calmly and warmly, Wai Jia asked Sarah-Faith for the box of chocolates back.
We waited to see what Sarah-Faith would do next.
She continued to stare at the box. Her hands were holding the box of chocolates very firmly. After all, who wouldn’t want another one? Especially after trying it for the first time. She really wanted to have more.
Then, after pausing for less than a minute, but what probably seemed like an eternity in our almost two-year-old’s eyes, Sarah-Faith did something that would make any parent proud.
She returned the box of chocolates back to Wai Jia.
There was no fuss, no tears.
Being her parents and being much bigger, we could have simply yanked the box from her. We could have yelled and commanded her to do so. As her parents, we had every right to do so. But this time, we waited and see.
I was amazed. What could drive her to do such a thing? We had not yet taught her right or wrong. She had the freedom to disobey and have another. We probably wouldn’t stop her if she had done so. I am sure her mind wanted another piece of chocolate. But another part of her knows that it is better to obey her Mama.
As a father, I was very proud of Sarah-Faith and filled with joy to see that she chose to obey even though she could enjoy another tasty treat.
Recently, I did a study on blessings. In the church, we talk about blessings all the time. The benediction is commonly spoken over the church at the end of the service. In fact, every night, after we pray with our children, we speak the benedictions over them. The benediction starts with, “may the Lord bless you…”
As I look at blessings, especially from Jesus’ teachings, it is not simply about receiving stuff or happiness.
When we look at the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11), Jesus taught that we are blessed when we choose specific attitudes. Yet, these attitudes are not those the world desires or seeks.
Take being meek, for example. It is an attitude that is highly regarded in the Kingdom of God, but the world never deems it valuable. No one ever chooses a successful CEO or leader because of their meekness. No one ever chose someone in a team or in a relationship because they are meek.
The question I ask myself is, how are we blessed for following these attitudes? You don’t get a bigger house, a happier life, a promotion for being a peacemaker, for being merciful or getting persecuted for Jesus’ sake. So how can Jesus say we are blessed for seeking these attitudes? In other words, what is the motivation for seeking and developing the Beatitudes within us?
As I dwell on this, I realized that being blessed is not just about getting stuff or having a good life. Instead, we are blessed when we choose certain attitudes in our lives because it brings joy to our Heavenly Father.
When Sarah-Faith chose to return the box of chocolates, I was filled with joy. Why? Not only because she chose the right thing. But because she was willing to deny her own desires to have another piece of chocolate in order to obey her mother.
Just as how I was filled with joy when Sarah-Faith willingly chose to return the box of chocolates to Wai Jia, our Heavenly Father is filled with joy when He sees us willingly choosing the Beatitudes in our day to day lives.
After all, the biggest blessing is bringing joy to our Heavenly Father and willingly doing His Will. My joy comes from knowing that my actions and attitudes bring joy to our Heavenly Father.