For the past week or so I have been pondering how best to write this article. The “slant”, that is “What do I want the reader to see?”
I’ve rummaged through my experiences looking for an anecdote; hoping to retrieve a memory, a true story that could be my Power Point presentation.
I’ve rewritten this several times before I ever sat down to write it.
Dad came in, sorry, our Father came in the room. “Just sit down at the keyboard, I’ll write it. You just read along.” Was His way of saying “good morning, son.”
So here I am, because I AM is here with me.
Grab your favorite box of Crayons and get ready to take some notes.
Shaggy and Scooby-Doo were cast in grayscale still-life. The look on their faces told the “would be” artist that they were beggars. Holding out lifeless hands in hopes that a child would grant them the colors they craved. “Can you spare some blue? Purple maybe?”
My son, Matt, is not as interested in coloring books as he once was. He’s ten years old now; advancing maturity has inspired him to pursue other higher and nobler goals.
Like a policeman carries a sidearm, Matt carries his Game Boy. It’s holstered in his hip pocket and he’s always ready to draw his weapon if the bad guy of Boredom comes near the ‘hood’.
Still, I remembered the days when Shag and Scoob were his VIPs’.
Matt would flip through the pages. All of us could hear the sound, like a paper kite on a windy day, coming from his “studio” until he found the perfect black and white day that he alone would brighten.
The weapons of his warfare, a rainbow of sixty-four wax missiles, all within his reach and all were ready for launch.
A sum of money had gone into this craft. His mother and I had invested wisely with the hope that naught would be wasted nor lost. A Crayola Van Gogh was required to satisfy the debt our son had incurred.
Minutes, sometimes an hour, later our son would emerge from the chamber of inspirational art to share with his world, the work of his hands. The sparkle in his eye told us that this was his best ever. We were prepared to give him the hoped for ovation.
His joy did not come from what he had just done. There would be no joy for him unless we rejoiced.
His was a purpose driven life.
Most artists have velvet or satin coverings to veil their work until the appointed time. My son was content to hide his Rembrandt behind a dirty T-shirt.
Bringing it around from behind his back, he would hold the priceless work up with both hands; the same way a father gently lifts his newborn, displaying him to the world.
Scooby and Shaggy posed for us while Matt held his breath.
That they had been changed cannot be denied. Our son made sure the change was obvious. They were no longer black and white.
The “Shagster” was all purple and Scooby-Doo was orange.
The sun setting behind them was moldy green, yet determined to bid the day adieu it offered beams of brown mixed with blue. They had to drain through a maroon sky. The proud artist may or may not have known there were lines drawn to contain artistic expression. (Snobby maturity calls them “boundaries”)
I have learned a few things over the years. Experiences like these have been parables the Lord uses to show me a thing or two, or three, or four.
I am, or tend to be, very black and white. “This is the way it is and that’s it”
“Absolute truth” is the lingua franca of my world; I’ve no time for anything relative or objective.
To describe me in one word is simple: Stoic. (Stubborn, intolerant, graceless could be synonyms)
I’m the coloring book fresh from the store.
My wife is the Crayons.
She marvels at Matthews’ creation. She gives voice to her rejoicing over him. “Oh, honey, that’s wonderful!” is her applause.
I, on the other hand, offer a half-hearted compliment; “That’s good, buddy.”
My (ugh) practical side is saying; “Great, I work my tail off to buy you things and you have the childish audacity to waste that eight cents worth of my hard earned money?”
I’ve spent a fair amount of time with Christians; enough to know that some of you are coloring books and some of you are Crayons. (Not a one of you will ever compare to the beauty of the Crayolas that I’m married to, by the way)
I come to places like Faith Writers or Christian Writers and there you are.
I look at the work of your hands, the things you’ve written, the “pages you colored” and what do I see?
Some of you have colored a page entirely the same color.
Others of you have no concept of the craft, mixing black with chartreuse.
Most of the art on display is way, way, way outside the lines.
A lot have decorated page after page, yet not a one of them has been completed.
Still, there are others of you, and you are the ones’ I’m talking with today.
Regrettably, you’ve gone on to “higher and nobler goals”, the Game Boy of your beliefs has robbed you of the joys you once knew.
We have become more concerned with our new high scores while the Crayon missiles of our childhood have no new front on which to wage a war of heartfelt expression.
We each have a memory card and on it there are truths that need to be remembered, but at the same time there are things that should be deleted. Calvary is a wonderful way to format that card.
We are more concerned with crowns.
Somewhere along the journey we grew up. Or did we? I used to think so, but I’m learning.
The gospel of Jesus Christ went forth, the Spirit was giving CPR and the world was turned upside down, we are told in the seventeenth chapter of Acts.
But, the world was already upside down.
Sovereign Love came to turn it right side up.
One thing I continue to learn is that maturity in the kingdom comes not by “growing up” but by “growing down”. Jesus said it himself, that: “Except you become as little children….”
On that day we will have crowns to throw at the feet of the King.
Until that day I choose to spend my days, in the quiet repose of my chamber, with a handful of Crayons.
Coloring one page all purple.
Mimicking Matthews’ moldy green sun.
Going way outside the lines.
I mix black with chartreuse
But, may I do it with the joy of knowing that I’ve done it, not for myself, but for Him.
If I spend my time here casting crayons, then and only then will I be able to, on that day, be Casting Crowns.