Treasure in an Oatmeal Box

I did something that I haven’t done in a looooong time. I read a kid’s novel. It’s called Treasure in an Oatmeal Box and it’s written by one of my favorite authors, Ken Gire. This is one of the authors God brought into my life when I was rebounding from severe burnout years ago. His gentle writings and ability to see the beauty of God in Scripture and life helped forge the new foundation my life now rests upon. I find it very interesting that a spiritual writer also writes children’s stories. Perhaps there is a lot of similarity between the two.

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Mark 9:37

I read this book because after eighteen months of finishing my Master’s degree, I wanted to escape the realm of theory, to remind myself there are other aspects to life in God’s kingdom than discussions of globalization, or parsing words in a foreign language, or navigating through the minute nuances of Pauline theology.

This book allowed me to view life once again from the eyes of a ten year old. It reminded me that joys and disappointments, beauty and ugliness, life and death all form the fabric of our lives. It reminded me that if I can’t see life as a child, I really have no right to attempt understanding life from an adult perspective.

I’ll be honest, as I read this sad story of Kevin, a young developmentally disabled boy, I cried. I cried because of the beautiful way he saw God and life. I cried because of his compassion despite the unfairness dealt to him. I cried because of the way he touched the hearts of people around him. I cried because it reminded me of real suffering and unfairness and loss in the people around me. Then I realized that I never cried while reading a textbook.

Life from a child’s eyes keeps us rooted in reality. And the questions they ask are profound. I so often hear people say, “When I get to heaven, I’m going to ask God about…” I suspect when we get to heaven, the kids get first dibs with God. And I think as we listen to their heartfelt questions, ours will melt away and we will cry and we will worship.

4 thoughts on “Treasure in an Oatmeal Box

  1. I think that you are right about the kids getting first dibs on asking God questions. I think that all my best questions probably got formed in me when I was a child anyway, so I will hear my best questions getting answered as I hear God giving those children their answers. I am glad that you were able to get in touch with life through a child’s eyes again. If only for just a little while…Your brain needed a rest from grown up worries. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” It’s like hearing God sing, “Ain’t no mountain high enough. Ain’t no valley low enough. Ain’t no river wide enough to keep me from gettin’ to you babe!”

  2. Mark…you are too funny…
    Jason…too smart…

    When i read your post it reminded me of how I feel when I read adult books. I thought about how in my history class..I cried..when I read adbusters..I cry…when I am on-line or hearing a lecture or in the bookstore I cry…when I hear a song I cry. I feel as though my hands are tied, like a child with no real power and I cry. If only I were older maybe I could make a difference. God please make a difference since I can’t seem to. Amen

  3. I read this book 12 years ago when I was 9 and it was one of the best books I have ever read. I cried through it- it was so touching. There was something really special about it. I have looked it up in libraries with no luck and I am currently in New Zealand and I even tried to find it here. I didn’t think to look on the net and i’m so glad to have finally found information about it. Up until now I couldn’t remember the author’s name!

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