As a parent, I frequently think about what my kids pay attention to.
I can tell when they begin to spend too much time thinking about things that distract them from what’s important. When they think too much about a video game, I limit their game time. When they get obsessive over an artist or song, I limit how often they get to listen to it. Television, food, candy, sugar, social media–you get the picture.
This is a biblical idea. Solomon wrote in Proverbs: “If you find honey, eat just enough. If you eat too much of it, you will throw up.” Short, sweet, and vivid. You can have too much of a good thing.
Whether it’s honey or the video game Undertale or the musical Hamilton or Facebook or their latest fave on Netflix–none of those things by themselves are bad. But too much of those things? Not good for them.
It’s easy to see this as a parent. We are quick to see what our kids need to stop doing, because we how it affects them. Their schoolwork suffers, their relationships with others go south, they sleep poorly–you get the idea.
It’s harder for us as adults to catch this for ourselves.
All of these things are fine, in themselves. Rooting for a team is great. Being healthy is awesome. Enjoying a good show is relaxing. Having a job is always a plus. Getting away from it all is good. A few minutes with an app is a fun way to kill time. Money sure helps take care of the bills. And we kind of need to make sure our country has leaders.
But too much of any of these things will make you sick. And I don’t just mean feeling sick when your favorite team doesn’t do well. Anything–anything–that you get too much of will hurt you. Each of these things can consume you, become all you think about–and that’s the deepest trouble: they will distract you from what really matters.
Time with the kids.
Talking with your spouse.
Growing in your faith.
Trusting in and relying on God.
You can have too much of a good thing. Solomon learned this the hard way. Once he filled his life with wealth, women, success, power, he lost his way. He stopped focusing on the one who gave him all of that, and his kingdom fell apart. He didn’t listen to his own warning.
I’d never want that for my kids. But God also doesn’t want that for me–or you. He’s not out to dispense heavenly Pepto-Bismol so we can feel better about ourselves after overindulging. He’d rather we make the wise choice to begin with.
So, before you lecture your kids on how much Xbox they play, or that singer they’re obsessing over, take a second to think about the “honey” in your own life. What’s distracting you from what really matters? It might be time to admit that you have too much of a good thing.
And stop before you throw up. Because that’s just gross.