Jesus: better than chocolate cookies

This wasn't the first time he was throwing fit. Last time he was waiting in anticipation as he was sure his name was going to be called to be next week's superstar. When it was a different name, his body went limp and fell to the floor. It wasn't so much a tantrum as it was a I-didn't-get-what-my-heart-prized-and-I-can't-let-it-go kind of fit. What does this kid need? We may say: He needs to be taught patience. He needs to be taught that in life you don't always get what you want. He needs to be taught that at school we take turns.  There are so many different behavioral and social avenues to take with this one. Or is there something deeper? He needs his heart addressed. He needs Jesus.

If we all need to hear about Jesus? Isn't it the same for kids? If we are all sinners? Isn't it the same for kids? They are sinners too, and the idols that hold their sinful hearts need to be addressed just like ours.

This time the fit wasn't about being the superstar... A plate of cookies was given to our class. All kinds of cookies. There were sugar cookies with frosting, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and of course only one chocolate flavored cookie with chocolate chips. Now any teacher knows, that if there is one of something, it's best to avoid giving it out-because if everybody wants it, that could be a real problem. This little boy already saw that chocolate cookie though, and that was THE ONE he wanted. When he didn't get it, he wouldn't accept the cookie that everyone else got, because it wasn't the one that he wanted. He hid and sulked. He couldn't stop thinking about it. He thought so much about it, that he wouldn't even play at outside time. Instead he just sat there with tears welling up in his eyes.

What a silly situation to us adults right? But we too base our emotions on our idols. This little boy's idol was a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie and when he didn't get it, his world turned upside down. It's the same for us. When we don't receive the praise that we desire, our world turns upside down too. When we don't have the relationship we want, we are sad and depressed. Of course when we do get what we want, we are as happy as can be. My pastor talks about it a lot: we can see what we idolize by our response when we don't get it.

So I tried to address his little sinful heart: "You really wanted that cookie didn't you? And you got really sad when you didn't get it. I get really upset when I don't get something I want too. Let me ask you something. Even though cookies are really good, can you pray to cookies? (No.) Can cookies talk to you? (No.) Can cookies be with you all the time? (No.) Can cookies make a whole world? (No.) Did you know that there is something better than cookies? (What?) Jesus is better than cookies. Eating a yummy cookie is only good for a little bit, but Jesus is with us wherever we go and even forever if we want. If you'd like we can pray and ask Jesus that he would show you that he is better than cookies."

Well, that's as far as it went. He was not interested in praying, he still wanted his cookie more. But that little guy is no different than me. So often I want THINGS more than Jesus. Oh, how often it is that I don't believe HE IS better. But He is. Things that adults want and things that children want are NOT better than a Savior that satisfied the wrath of God on a cross for our sins. Jesus is better-a message for preschoolers and adults.

*Please understand I'm not saying that we shouldn't teach children patience or taking turns. Those are good things. Sometimes we forget to address their little hearts though and they need it just as much as we do.

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