Dec 2, 2011

The Dad Giveth; The Dad Taketh



This is the season of giving—so beware!

Several years ago, I visited someone in a distant hospital. On this particular visit I was in more of a hurry than usual. We had a meeting at church early that evening so I was on the run. I stopped by a “McFasts” restaurant and ordered a quick lunch. Normally, I never go to McFasts unless coerced by one of my children—or, now, a grandchild. Usually I have a book with me so that I can eat and read. However, since I did not have a book, I noticed some of the people in the restaurant.

Nearby a father and young daughter sat down. The father looked to be about 30 years old and his daughter was about four or five. The father looked trim and fit. He did not eat anything and had only a cup of coffee. He was extremely well dressed. He and his daughter looked like they were having a pleasant day. The daughter had the standard issue McFasts “Happy Meal” complete with toy. I remember painfully that the day’s toy was a whistle.

But, what interested me most about the two was something that happened while they ate. Children at that age don’t really eat the happy meal. Rather, they covet the toy. Did I mention that the toy was an annoying whistle? Anyway, after the father finished his coffee he reached over to grab one of the daughter’s french fries. The father had evidently not ordered food because fast food is fattening. Did I mention he looked trim and fit?

All something broke loose when the father reached across the table for a fry—and it was not heaven. The child refused to give her father even a single fry and then screamed when he pressed her. At that point I began to think about this situation. First, the father bought the fries. Second, the father had the power to take the fries from his daughter. Instead he only asked her to share them. Third, the father could have returned to the McFasts’ counter, pulled out $100, and entombed his daughter in fries. Last, the father did not need the fries. He only wanted to share them with his daughter. I saw this as parable with respect to God and human beings—like us. God gives to us so that God can share with us. So what do we do next? Cry? Share?

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