For just a moment, envision the little boy or girl who doesn’t like the baseball game, the rules, or the players. Frustration rises with each swing and a miss. The tension mounts with each strikeout, with each dropped ball.

Finally, unable to take it any longer he or she loudly announces to anyone that will listen that “I’m taking my toys and going home”!

Have you ever taken your toys and gone home? Or at the very least, wanted to? Maybe the better question would be are there any of us who haven’t wanted to take our toys and go home?

There are lots of ways to do it, many of them having nothing to do with playing a game.

How about wanting to quit your job? In my long work career I must have quit my job a thousand times. Though I didn’t vocalize it, I know I thought to myself “I’m done, I quit, I’m outa here” at least that many times. Only to return the next day of course!

When things don’t go our way, or the way we think they should go, it can be difficult to stay the course. This is especially true if we think we have all the answers and know better than the leader how things should be done.

I’ve found myself in such a predicament more than a few times, and I’ve come to realize that it’s especially easy for me to fall into this trap now that I am retired.

With no one now to supervise, direct, or teach (the Princess of the house refuses to play the part), I find myself becoming unnecessarily critical of others who don’t do it the way I think they should.

It happens at church too. Decisions are made about the order of service, the color of the carpet, song selection, and a host of other necessary things. Oh, and there are all those rules one is expected to follow, any one of which could cause us to want to take our toys and go home.

How hard is it to criticize the decisions of others?

Not very!

Have you ever thought about what is at the root of this behavior? What makes an otherwise rational, intelligent individual act like this?

In a word, it’s a heart problem. It’s a “it’s my way or the highway” problem. It’s an obedience problem. In other words, it all goes back to a selfish heart that says if I don’t get my way, I’m taking my toys and going home.

It’s during these times when it’s best to pull back a bit and ask ourselves “is this how Jesus would want me to handle this situation”?

The answer to that can be found in the garden of Gethsemane. It was here that Jesus showed us the better way when it comes to obedience.

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”   Mat. 26:39

It’s not about what I want, Jesus prayed, but it’s about what the Father desires. Jesus was the epitome of what a real servant is, becoming obedient even to the death on the Cross.

There’s a vital lesson here for all of us. Our attitudes towards others is a direct reflection of the condition of our heart. Getting angry, pouting, and taking our toys and going home is not the mark of a humble servant. It is the mark of someone whose heart has grown cold.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some work to do in this area.

How about you?

Be blessed everyone,