I’ve been sorting through baby things in the last few months, and am trying to decide which baby things I want to put away, give away, or keep handy for company. I’ve also been thinking over the toys that the kids have and play with. We have a lot of toys.
Some things I want my children to learn, regardless of how many toys we own.
- Everything comes from and belongs to God.
- Giving is more fun than receiving.
- We use things to serve God’s people.
- Our security does not rest in the things we own, but in the God who loves us.
- Any enjoyment from things must ultimately send us back to worship God. Things can be idols if we don’t respond in this way.
We’re all, by Bible standards, in this “rich” category here.
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; I Timothy 6:17
When David was a baby, we began using our house for hospitality, and we found certain things, including toys, useful for this endeavor. Some toys we’ve deliberately purchased for this purpose. Some toys have come to our children from grandparents. A few things came before the children, like the doll house two of my grandfathers made for me when I was sixteen. We have space at our house, unlike others, so we’ve been accumulating toys without the need to thin them out.
Many of the toys have good play value: bikes, building materials, the doll house, art supplies. And I’ve kept multiples of several items because we frequently have other children over: three or four dollies is not too many when four or five little girls are playing in the bedroom. But is that sufficient reason to keep all those dollies?
I’ve been holding on to some toys that my children no longer play with, simply because they’re fun for company kids to play with. And I’ve set aside a number of toys to get rid of, but then, I’m not sure what to do with them. I could sell them, but I don’t really need the money. I could give them away, but I’d rather not give them to a toy-saturated family. So some things I’ve been hanging onto because I’d like to find a church or a family that these things would be a blessing for.
What should I do?
- For sure, I need to be praying that God would give me wisdom as I make some decisions.
- I need patience. I’d rather take my time to make sure the things that belong to God are put to good use for his glory.
- I need diligence to respond when God gives me wisdom. It would be easy to be apathetic or cavalier about our possessions, but I don’t think that’s an option for a Christian. For example, I could think how lovely it would be to stock a new church nursery, but there’s more that I can do besides think about it.
I’ve got more questions that I’ll be thinking through. Writing is one way I can think through my actions and my reasons for those actions.
Tomorrow is a guest post about how one mom is responding to the lure of materialism. It’s been an encouragement to me, and I’m sure it will be an encouragement to you.
Lyn Marshall says
For what it’s worth, one of the things we have found very profitable is to share toys in great condition with young missionary children who come through our area. Far from being toy-saturated, many of the missionary children are traveling on deputation or furlough and so have very few play things. Our kids enjoy giving the toy(s) to the missionary children, and the act of sharing helps them to remember that child and pray for him/her.
We have also kept a laundry basket of toys just for when we have guests. The laundry basket helps limit the amount kept and also is nicely portable when I need to bring the toys to wherever we want them.
I like that idea, Lyn, and I know my children would be delighted with doing that as well. One thing I think I’m learning is that dumping stuff just for the sake of not having stuff might not be wise. And we do have a missionary family with some youngish children coming through soon. I’ve never thought of keeping a closet full of old toys just to give them to missionaries (or others); I’ve always thought the best thing to do is just to get rid of extra stuff, so this is a different way to think. It’s part of understanding how to use what God has given us for His glory.
Lyn Marshall says
🙂 Just to be clear, as the mom of a family of–umm, how do I say this affectionately (LOL)–packrats, I do think there is a place for getting rid of stuff we no longer use to make room for things we can currently use. That just enhances the orderliness of our daily lives (not to mention our rooms!). That being said, while there are days when I am exasperated by the stacks of “junk” and might feel like ordering a dumpster, I see benefit in choosing the method of HOW we get rid of outgrown toys (and clothes, for that matter). The ability to give outgrown toys and clothes to missionaries is a real pleasure with lasting benefits both to us and to the missionary families God sends our way.
Lyn, I think I’m understanding you. You’re saying that HOW I remove excess things is a matter of godly wisdom. This is a good thought for me, since the easy way might not be the wise way. Do you ever mail things out? We’re not exactly in a metropolis here, so I have to be creative or aggressive in how I find a home for stuff.
Lyn Marshall says
Yes, I do mail reasonably-sized toys and outgrown clothes periodically to some missionary families we know. I know you were primarily referencing toys and not clothes, but we have found that outgrown clothes in good condition can also be a tremendous blessing to missionary families, particularly those in areas where the dollar has lost a lot of its value and where they are without discount shopping. It is costly, but the Lord has always supplied the need. 🙂 By the way, if you ever do this, (1) mark the items as “used,” (2) mark the package as a gift, and (3) check with the missionaries via email before mailing the package to find out what level of value will begin to incur duty (and stay below that value level).
Most of the toys (especially the larger ones) we give “in person” to missionary children who come through our home. It becomes a neat personal connection between our children!
I did have to giggle about your not being in a metropolis exactly. If you still have extra toys to dispose of, would one of your hospitals (civilian or military) be able to use them in their pediatric wing???
Good discussion. 🙂
Lyn, thanks for your advice on sending something to a missionary, and your ideas. The hospital here doesn’t have a pediatric wing. 🙂 But there is a good pregnancy crisis center that I know could use some of the things I have, so that’s an option.