During church recently, 3-year-old Emma snuggled up between 10-year-old Carson and me. Emma loves to cuddle with the two of us, stretching out between our laps. This Sunday seemed like any other to me until Carson's eyes grew wide with delight. He turned to me, eyes twinkling, and whispered, "This time I get the head and you get the feet!"
I looked down with surprise, realizing that Carson was right. I had never really registered that during this sweet worship-time ritual, I got the best end of the deal. Emma would rest her head softly in my lap, looking up at me with big blue eyes, her little mouth drawn up in a sweet smile. I would rub her back gently or stroke her soft golden hair.
A little further down the pew, Carson would get Emma's feet, her white dress shoes landing in his lap with a thud. And each time she rolled over or shifted in the pew, Carson braced against the movement of her restless feet.
Because he adores his baby sister, Carson was willing to accept this arrangement. But what a thrill it was for him when finally Emma deemed his the lap of luxury. He wore a contented smile through the rest of the worship service, so happy to snuggle with Emma.
From my spot on the pew, I considered my spiritual life as I looked down at Emma's feet in my lap. And I wondered how often I stretch myself between heaven and earth. Just like Emma, who wants to snuggle with both Carson and me, I know I value both the physical and the spiritual. But I am afraid that too often I lay my head in the lap of the world, giving the best of my time and energy to earthly concerns and devoting only the scraps to my relationship with God.
But when I rest my head in the world, my thoughts become ensnared by temporal things. And how easy it is for materialism, cynicism or worry to take hold!
Matthew 6:24 reminds me, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Contentment is ours when instead of trying to stretch ourselves between heaven and earth, we simply climb into our Father's lap. As Matthew 6:33 explains, when we seek Him first, other priorities just fall into their proper place.
As much as Carson and I enjoy our shared snuggle time with Emma, I'm sure we would both agree that this worship-time ritual falls a distant second to actually holding her. When little Emma climbs into your lap, wrapping her dimpled hands around your neck and nuzzling her soft cheek against your shoulder, you feel so blessed to be the chosen one.
How truly blessed we are that our Father invites us into His lap, imploring, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Clasped in prayer, we wrap weathered hands around His neck. And as we snuggle up to read His Word, He whispers expressions of love and faithfulness, each tender scripture reminding us that He loves us from the top of our numbered-hair heads to the bottom of our washed feet (Matthew 10:30; John 13:5). At last, our restless spirits have found a resting place, nestled snugly in our Father's lap.