Settling for a Tonka Truck

Dear Will:

Today we celebrated my son Seth’s second birthday. Throwing a party for two-year-olds is a little tricky since they are as likely to become interested in their shoelaces as in the activity of the moment. Recognizing that we would not have a whole lot of attention span to work with, my wife and I designed a lot of activities that could go start-to-finish in a few minutes and which could be abandoned without consequence should our constituents wander off to play under the kitchen table. We also had the good sense to invite just one other two-year-old to the party.

Everything pretty much went as expected. I felt a bit like a sheepdog from time to time, but for the most part the kids got into it.  (One piece of advice: Next time you’re entertaining two-year-olds, skip the piñata.) When it came time to open presents, you can probably guess what happened: After opening the first gift (a giant Tonka truck), Seth was pretty much done. We kept foisting other presents upon him, but we could easily have stopped after the truck and he would have been perfectly happy. There are still a half a dozen other presents remaining to be opened, but to be honest Seth really couldn’t care less.

His indifference is to be expected, I suppose, but I admit to feeling a little disappointed. We got him some really great stuff (a real Radio Flyer tricycle, for example) but he’s willing to settle for much less. Now I realize the guilty parties in this little tableau are the eager-to-spoil parents rather than the content-with-what-he-has toddler, but nevertheless it occurs to me that the whole thing is in a small way emblematic of a common, eternal phenomenon.

I’ve got a pretty good hunch that our Heavenly Father has a lot He would like to give us—in fact, we are probably incapable of conceiving the enormity of it. But His ability to give is constrained by our ability to receive. In the Book of Mormon we read:

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.  (2 Nephi 28:30)

I wonder how often I have prevented God from blessing me because I have not taken full advantage of that with which he has previously blessed me. I fear that my indifference has deprived me of greater blessings. And I wonder to what degree my own lack of faith in this life may prevent Him from bestowing upon me the unfathomable blessings of eternity that He has promised “those who love Him.”

I’d hate to settle for the Tonka truck when He is prepared to give me a Radio Flyer—if you know what I mean. It may be a lame analogy, but it seems relevant to me, especially as I consider how easily distracted I become in pursuit of my spiritual goals. I guess in the eternal scheme I’m the two-year-old, and I’m hoping that you’re more grown up than I. Here’s hoping, in any case, that you’re quick to acknowledge the ways in which God has blessed you, and that He may bless you much more in the months to come.


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