So... here goes.
When our church was young and B and I were struggling in every way imaginable - financially, as parents, even at times as a couple - and when our daughter, Taylor, was a busy four-year-old with a personality that was, may I say, GREGARIOUS. :-) Well, when all this was so I went one evening into to my study/office, located out of necessity in our home, to work on my sermon and finish a paper due for seminary.
Now my study was a sacred place - at least to me. Taylor was not allowed in it without me, and Belinda only entered to clean. But this night, as I came into the room, I discovered one of my books - a treasure - laying open on my desk. Now if you know me you know that I love books, and that I especially love old, classic books of literature and sermons. And this book was such a one - a favorite, a classic, a treasure to me. As I spontaneously reached for it, not yet aware of anything amiss, my eyes were caught by a dastardly scene. Tracing across the open page, and thereupon several pages more, were random and erratic lines marked heavily by pen. Some of them so hard pressed the pages themselves were damaged. I was mortified. My anger swelled immediately. I knew, of course, who had done this, and my emotional burst of outcry would not be contained. Not only towards Taylor, but towards Belinda. For she too had failed in her duty of watchfulness by allowing our daughter into my study in the first place. Not only miffed, I was devastated. The book would never be the same. This precious book, much more precious to me than anything at that moment, was ruined and that was all I could think of. Raising my voice, I scolded Taylor harshly, then spanked her and sent her to time out in her room. Next, I let Belinda know how angry and disappointed I was before finally huffing back into my study to sulk, while my true 'treasures' gladly left me alone. In other words, that night our home was miserable.
So today, if you visit my study you will find things you might think curious. For upon the shelves and scattered about my books are toys. That's right! There are balls of all kinds, and little sit-arounds of every imaginable type, and, of course, lots and lots of cars. They are there to be played with, to be handled, touched and even broken by any and all such children who might come for a visit. For I learned my lesson well on those nights now long ago, the first in my 'anger' and the next through my 'second look', and have since made it my practice never to forget. For the lesson I learned is that people, not things, are our real treasures. And certainly my book, still on my shelf and with marks on its page, is there to remind me so.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.
Psalm 127: 3-4
And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.”