Thursday, July 1, 2010

Timeless Truths from TOY STORY 3 - by M.E. Loving


*spolier alert--Toy Story 3 major plot discussed.

Here's a recent devotional I wrote that needed to be shared...
This devotional is for any person of any age whatever season of life you are in the middle of, have just walked through, or are about to begin..



1) God’s plan for you is that you make the most of each Season of life you are in:


In the Story of Toy Story 3, the boy Andy is shown transitioning in life from time spent as a child quickly fading into his time preparing to leave to go to College. That is a reality for so many of us as we look back on our lives and we say, ‘where has the time gone?’.
Our oldest child, Carson, just turned 9 this past week, which coincidentally was also the occasion for us to take him and his friends to see the latest Toy Story movie. If you are a Parent at any stage and have watched this film, there are several scenes where Andy and his Mom struggle with his preparations to leave home and it is very touching. Andy himself even struggles with leaving his boyhood memories behind because he realizes just how special his life has been. It was simultaneously touching for me to be celebrating my son’s 9th birthday guiding him through his boyhood to another year of life ahead. Yet, I realize that this season for him, and my wife and I, will come and go just as fast as the scenes on the silver screen. So, we as parents have to teach him at every turn of life about the Lord and have to also allow him the freedom to discover personally how to see the Lord in each season of his journey.

After thinking back through this films story, one of the timeless truths that seemed to keep surfacing was this: to make the most of our time. Whatever season of life we are in, whether we perceive it as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or even indifferent at the time, is always a gift from God for his purposes. All too often in life’s journey we live with the approach that if we can just get through to a particular destination life will be even better. Children take this approach incessantly about waiting for Christmas, or birthday’s, or for summer vacation. Parents do this about several stages with their children, especially adolescence. College students do this about their years of education looking forward to getting that “perfect job”. This mindset unfortunately causes us to miss God’s gifts of Himself along the way, which is the real joy of the journey. The prophet Isaiah once explained this timeless truth by sharing these words: “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’" (Isaiah 30:20-21).

Likewise, John Wesley also was quoted as saying this about making the most of every season of our life : “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

See also these Scripture passages for further understanding & application
Genesis 50:19-20; Esther 4:14; Psalms 90:12; Matthew 6:25-34; Ephesians 5:15-17

2) God blesses you with Grace in order to be a blessing to others:


Also, in the story of Toy Story 3, the famous Toy ‘Woody’ makes a tough decision for him and the other toys. Woody leaves a note for Andy to give them all away to a nearby young girl in the neighborhood named Bonnie. As tough as this is for both Woody and Andy, Andy goes to the young girls home to bring his toys to her. But, here is where the even deeper lesson surfaces. Andy doesn’t just give the toys to the little girl. He decides to introduce her to the toys one at a time telling tall tales of what they are each capable of according to his childhood memories. Then, Andy stays for awhile to play with her and the toys one last time as the movie prepares for it’s ending scenes. So, in essence, Andy realizes the greatest joy in life is only found in giving away to another what has given you joy in life.

As the film came to a dramatic closing very different than the previous 2 films, the second timeless truth that stood out to me in glaring 3-d was this: that we are blessed in order to be a blessing to others. In particular, Christians have the Gospel in order to give the Gospel away to others. Quite often in our lives we don’t realize this timeless truth because we are so busy living thinking only of what we or only those closest to us need. Jesus himself directly addressed this truth by commanding that we make Disciples of Him(Matthew 28: 18-20) and also meet the basic needs of others(Matthew 25:34-40).

Normally, when a season of life ends, it often causes us to be reflective and appreciative for where and what we have just journeyed through. Sometimes such drastic change can cause us to become too introspective rendering us into a semi-depression. The challenge then is to take what we have learned and put it into practice, especially for the benefit of other people that God has placed within our sphere of influence. Furthermore, we must constantly be willing to let go of anything (attitudes, actions, & acquisitions) in our lives that competes for the Lord’s rightful throne. As we learn to do this, the Holy Spirit of God will then perfectly meet you where you are and your life can then echo Nehemiah’s words by proclaiming “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10b).

A.W. Tozer once wrote in his classic book The Pursuit of God the following prayer: “Father, I want to know thee, but my cowardly heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from thee the terror of the parting. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long...so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival”

See also these Scripture passages for further understanding & application
Genesis 12:2-3; Daniel 3:28-29; Psalms 67:1-2; John 13:1-5; Acts 2:42-47/4:32-37; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; Galatians 5:13-14


2 comments:

  1. This is absolutely fantastic Matt. (This is Pavan, by the way :-) ). I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It is nice how God chooses to teach us timeless truths sometimes even through an animation movie :). Makes me wanna go watch the movie now :).

    I know you've been the kind to always glean Biblical truths from movies that the little hearts and the youth can be taught. I remember from when I was there in Mississippi (Spiderman, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Matrix, few others..). Wish I was in your youth group :)). I try bringing up those truths during conversations with the kids at our church, and when I teach them.

    I'm very glad you sent me this. Thanks buddy. I'll be in Mississippi this weekend. Hope to see you there. It's been really long. I remember Carson being 5 years old :)..

    Pavan

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  2. Excellent insite...Thanks, Matt----(This is Russ on Shelly's computer)

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