About 50 of them "liked" the following picture:
This drawing (by an unknown source and author) was hailed in the comments as "an excellent visual for our kiddos," "Profound... says it all," "a vocation story in pictures" and as... well, she-who-will-remain-anonymous (because I'll assume she meant this really well) puts it best:
AWW!! Thank you for sharing this. I'm going to share it with my 5-year old. I don't think he needs any help in this department since he tells me that he loves Jesus more than he loves me (yes, my heart swells), but I want to keep reaffirming his beliefs. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!Yes, "reaffirming his beliefs" that... but wait. No. I will resist commenting on that comment for now, in hopes that God will take the sarcastic comments that I'd currently love to utter and--in return--inspire me with even snarkier things to say, later.
Oh dear, ahem, I-should-be-sorry-but-I'm-tired-and-annoyed: Anyway, when I first saw the pic, I actually thought someone was just making fun of us crazy Christians again. But then, I realized it was--likely--well-intended and promoted by a Christian. I also realized that my dismay was a minority position... not just from the 47 likes, but from the lack of an answer to my objection to this drawing (though it did get "liked" once, so it's me and that gal, yeah!)
I thought it wisest to spell it out my concerns here on my own personal soap box / blog rather than start a firestorm with well-meaning enthusiasts of the dear Lord's desire for teddy bears:
1. The "Give to Get" implication. Don't give something to God expecting something better back. He probably gave you what you love in the first place, and also, when we "give" we're not supposed to expect anything back, right? (Luke 6:35)
So don't give to acquire, and please (please) don't teach your kids to give up what they love so God gives them something even better. Please. Especially not your five-year-old son.
Like... here's some five-year-old reasoning using the above illustration: "I will put 25 cents in the poor box, and God will give me $25 dollars back."
NOT that He won't, necessarily. But it's really, really bad motivation for giving up your favorite stuffed animal. Or giving up anything you love, for that matter.
2. The Completely Hidden Bigger Bear
Yes, God does sometimes require us to give up things that we love. And let me be clear: if Jesus appears to me, gets down on one knee, and asks me for ANYTHING, I promise to give it to Him.
But when God wants us to give up a job that we love, for instance, in order to be freed up for something more important like, say, having kids... well, first of all, He often does give us a glimpse of "the bigger teddy bear" to keep us motivated.
Sometimes we give up good things for better things that we perceive God to be calling us to. Not that God hasn't ever asked people to give up good things "blind"... but I think a positive motivation is probably, most often, at least somewhat apparent.
3. "If it's hard, it's holy; if it's difficult, it's good; if it's painful, it's progress" etc etc
Oh, not necessarily. And that notion is written all over this pic... giving up that teddy bear might be as extreme as God's testing of Abraham, at least to a little kid, c'mon now... Nuff said on that.
4. "You should give up what you love."
Took me till adulthood to learn that God actually often guides us to His will using the desires of our heart (Psalm 20:4), not by teaching us to always "give up" what we love.
There's another Psalm that speaks of this too: "Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart's desires." Ps. 37:4
5. "God wants us to give up what we love."
Similar to the above, but emphasis on what "God wants." Guess what I think about WWJD when this girl said, "But I love it God"? I think He'd grin and tell her to keep her tiny teddy (I mean really, "unknown artist." Really?!)
6. Using a tiny teddy bear instead of a knife.
Or a rusty nail. Or a lit match. This picture TOTALLY works if the child is holding something dangerous, bad, or otherwise unhealthy. Then, Jesus is being a good and loving Parent who knows best even if the child doesn't, not a creepy stranger asking for a kid's favorite toy...
7. The presence of random blue paint splotches. Look:
What's up with that? I asked all the 40-odd "likers" on the wall and no one explained it to me... sniff. And who says "bigger is better"... I mean, we're talking about teddy bears here. I prefer Beanie Babies, myself...
Oh, and the complete lack of proper punctuation... I think I spy an incorrect use of ellipsis (_I_ should know, I do it all the time. Like here... and here...) And yeah, where's the, like, comma? Or a period.
I'm going to bed... But in the meantime: Please, please don't use that picture to demonstrate to your children our relationship with God. Instead, how about teaching about trusting God and His love for us with:
"What father among you, if his son asks for a fish,
will instead of a fish give him a serpent;
or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
If you then . . . know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father?"
(N.B. The ellipsis was used properly in the above quote. But no where else...)
Linked to The Conversion Diary