Chocolate, paint, and play dough...








I glance in his direction just in time to see chocolate ice cream drip off three year old Austin's chin and onto the white tablecloth covering the dining room table. With his right hand holding a dripping spoon, Austin swipes his left arm across his mouth, smearing chocolate across his face before wiping what's left of the chocolate on the edge of the tablecloth that hangs in his lap.   

Except to motion to Emily that Austin could use her help, I didn't even flinch, because people are always more important than things, and if I can't handle spills and messes with grace, then I shouldn't use a white tablecloth.
Francis Schaeffer told us that it was OK to have an Oriental rug—as long as you didn’t mind someone puking on it. Andree Seu Peterson's Got Oxen? (World Magazine Online)
So when five year old Gavin arrives for the day and sits down at that same table with the now washed tablecloth, and he asks for glue to create a mask, I say yes and give it to him, and he reminds me that I'd told him at church the day before that we'd paint, so we set up the paints and paper on the porch, and he discovers the cans of play dough in the basket of paint shirts, and I grin and don't come unglued when paint is spilled and green play dough is ground into the porch floor. 

And it's not that I should be a care-free, negligent steward of the things I've been given, but that I want to hold these things loosely that my grip would be on grace. Because white tablecloths, porch floors and Oriental rugs are treasures that  rust and moths will destroy and thieves can steal {Matthew 6} but these children? They are image-bearers with souls eternal, and people are always more important things.