Our grandson was in our home recently when he opened the closet door in the kitchen. “Jonathan, what are you doing?” Melanie asked him. “I’m looking in the candy closet,” he answered in a matter of fact sort of way.
His answer struck me as interesting. That closet was filled with a lot of different things. There were paper towels and napkins, steel wool and detergents. There were cans of beans and bags of rice. There was a broom and dustpan. There was an assortment of household items. And there was candy.
Something else was in that closet – the kitchen trash pail. A can with a garbage bag in it that had the typical kind of trash that most people’s kitchen cans would have. It doesn’t escape my attention that Jonathan and that trash pail are approximately the same height. He couldn’t see anything else in that closet without looking around or over that pail. And that’s exactly what he did.
Jonathan apparently ignored the smell of that morning’s coffee grounds that was in the pail right under his nose. He didn’t seem affected by the dirty, crumpled paper towels on top of the pile. I suppose he had no interest in knowing what else was in that trash pail. He looked beyond it, to the third shelf – the one where the Butterfingers and Blowpops were located. Nothing else in that closet really mattered. The candy defined that closet to him.
Our lives are like that closet, filled with many things. The fact is that to enjoy life the way our Father intends, we need to set our minds on the right things. Some things in life are sweet and others stink. Sometimes the things that stink seem as big as we are.
But we have a choice to make. We can focus on the things we don’t like and whine about how God doesn’t bless us like He does other people, or we can focus on the sweet things He has given us. It’s all a matter of setting the mind.
In his childlike way, Jonathan has the ability to look over the imposing pail of garbage and see the candy on the third shelf. That’s a lesson to me from a four year old: you can always find garbage in the closet, but look above it and focus on your blessings.
The Bible says, “If you have been risen with Christ, set your attention on things above; not the things on the earth; because you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-2). In other words, look up. There may be garbage in your circumstances at eye level, but just above them is a Father who has given you His sweet life. Let that fact define your life.