Obsession is something we know a little bit about in the Beales family, especially, it must be said, among the male members of the house. I do not use the word ‘obsession’ lightly. I’m talking planning, eating, sleeping, dreaming, and sometimes groaning and aching levels of obsession.
Our line up at the moment includes Lego Ninjago, GoPro action cameras, skateboarding and, until recently, the American election. Thankfully that one is fading now.
I often find myself singing that
moody Delirious? song ‘Obsession’: ‘And my heart…. buuuuuurns… for you….’ as my 8 year-old leaps joyfully around the room over the latest piece of plastic Lego tat, or my 11 year old weeps and metaphorically beats his chest, because he can’t afford a Gimble – whatever that is.
I mention this because I had an interesting conversation with my 13 year-old the other day - the one who believes heaven wouldn’t be heaven without a half-pipe skate ramp. He was lamenting how difficult it is to spend time with God, and let’s be honest, which of us hasn’t had the same struggle? Why do other things seem so easy to obsess over, but God hardly ends up getting a look in?
I think there are probably multiple answers, but Jesus taught about one clue in two tiny parables found in Matthew 13. The first one compares God’s Kingdom to treasure buried in a field and the second one to an expensive pearl. In both stories the man who discovers them goes out and sells everything he owns in order to secure the prize.
He liked sparkly things? He’d lost his grasp on reality?
Who gives up everything to purchase one thing? Okay, maybe my 8 year-old would for a Golden Ninja Lego figure. But the point stands, who in their right mind would do that?
Only someone who is convinced that the actual worth of what he is purchasing is way greater than what he is giving up. In the story, the way the man behaved is portrayed as logical and sensible. In fact, only an idiot would have behaved differently. He did what he did to make himself happy, and if other people had had the same information there would have been a stampede of folks rushing to do the same thing.
I think the truth is we don’t sacrifice for something we don’t value. And we certainly won’t consider giving up our precious time, resources or energy for a connection with God unless we know that what we gain is more valuable than what we are giving up; that it is the logical, sensible thing to do. That only a fool would do otherwise.
My 13 year-old is at the beginning of this journey (heck, I often feel I’m at the beginning of this
journey), but I’m praying that over time his obsession will line up with what is infinitely more valuable, and his heart will burn as he considers the God who offers fullness of life in exchange for a cheap and temporary substitute. If Jesus is to be believed, it’s an obsession worth having.