I suppose I should claim that I was multi-tasking at church Sunday morning: standing, singing, praising and watching the small child in front of me. Pressed for honesty, though, I’d say at some point my attention was rather dominated by the kid.
He was a cute little scamp, probably in the neighborhood of fifteen months old. He had dark hair, dark eyes and an impish grin. He was small enough that he wanted to be held and old enough that he didn’t want to stay with one holder for more than a minute or two. There were five or six adults indulging him in the game: two who passed for parents, maybe a young aunt, all flanked by presumable grandparents. They took turns passing him around according to his whims. One would hold him for a while, then he’d reach out his arms to the next one and move on, back and forth throughout the course of the worship.
It wasn’t terribly distracting but it was sufficiently so that this morning I’m writing about it instead of the song service. Of course, watching the kid was a choice I made, so I’m not blaming him, the parents or the grandparents. In fact, it led to an interesting incident, one that I’ve witnessed before more than a time or two.
At one point, the little fellow leaned over toward the oldest man in the group and stretched out his hands toward him. The man turned toward him slightly and leaned over with a big smile on his face. He bent over as if to take the child but as he did, the kid grabbed his shirt pocket trying to yank out an ink pen.
“Hmmm…” I thought, “I’ve seen that before. Ole bait and switch. Kid acts like he wants you to hold him but what he really wants is to grab something from you.” Pretty soon, that got me to thinking a bit harder. Got me to wondering how many times I’ve done that to God.
You know, for all appearances, it looks like I’m reaching out to him, wanting to be closer, longing for close relationship when in fact, I just want him to give me something. On my knees, crying out to God and asking for peace or prosperity or one of a hundred other things when in fact, if I’d just draw close to God I’d find out everything else I needed would be provided.
Little brat! There I was thinking he was just distracting me and then he goes and lays a whole sermon on me. Right in the middle of church! Didn’t see that coming…