For about three years, Cade was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine. And I’m not using the word loosely.

obsess: to dominate or preoccupy the thoughts, feelings, or desires of a person


Cade thought about Thomas all the time. He played with his trains whenever possible and carried at least one with him at all times. He talked about them constantly to anyone who would listen. Relatives, Sunday School workers, and random strangers all got an earful about Thomas. Cade could name any and all of Thomas’ friends, recite entire scenes of Thomas movies, and hum the Thomas theme song endlessly. He even talked in his sleep about Thomas! He was obsessed.

Most intriguing, was watching Cade open a new train. He only got them on very special occasions, and for months beforehand he would be talking about the Percy or James or Molly that he wanted so badly.

With great intensity, he would rip into the box, but rather than playing with the new train, he would toss it aside and keep digging until he found that glossy piece of paper, tucked into the back of the box. If you have a Thomas lover at your house, you know what that piece of paper has, don’t you? It shows a tiny picture of every single Thomas & Friends engine–including all of the new ones they’ve added since last time.

Cade would carefully unfold the paper, spread it out on the floor, and get on his elbows and knees to study it. He looked like he was bowing in worship. (I think he was!) After a few moments, he would begin. “Next one I wanna get is Henry. No… maybe James. He is a really useful engine. No…”

And the process would begin all over again. Receiving a new train only fueled Cade’s treasure hunt for the next new train. He was never satisfied. He never had enough.

That is, until his obsession with Thomas was replaced with an obsession for Star Wars.

Left to themselves, our kids will chase one treasure after another, in complete oblivion to the true treasure. We must show them that the only treasure that will ever be enough to satisfy is God. He’s the one who designed our kids to be treasure hunters!  Why? Because he intended their insatiable cravings to lead them to the never ending supply of himself. 

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If you were at the MOPS group, where I spoke yesterday, here are some of the resources I promised, which have helped me think through this topic.

Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham–Over 70% of teens who profess Christianity will walk away from their faith by the end of their sophomore year. This book helps parents think through why that is happening and assists them in ‘doing what it takes to raise sons and daughters who walk with God.’

Helping Children to Understand the Gospel by Children Desiring God. This booklet discusses stages of development, and helps parents know how to explain the essential truths of the Gospel in an age appropriate way. Use the link to download the electronic booklet.

God is the Gospel by John Piper– This book helped me to unveil some of the flaws in my own thinking about salvation.

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