Flipping through the channels as I take a break, I stumble upon Toy Story on the Disney channel. Normally the channels I watch are ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNClassic, TBS, TNT, USA, Comedy Central, ABC, NBC…that’s pretty much it. And I never go through Disney, Nick, or anything like that because the shows are just annoying. But when I got to Disney, one of my top ‘kids’ movies was on: Toy Story. I love animated and cartoon films, because they work on so many levels. They are entertaining enough for children to enjoy, yet they can get so powerful that it leaves grown men thinking for years. That’s what Toy Story did to me.
It was near the end of the movie when I started watching. The more I watch the movie, the more I see bits and pieces of how we view the Christian walk, and our relationship with God. I see the character of Andy as being like God, and we all take the role of his toys. At times we’re like Woody…the one that’s been there for so long. We’ve been a Christian for much of our lives, and had been so content with God loving us and such. Then we see people like Buzz show up…they basically can do everything. They get the praises of everyone else because of their talents, and we start to feel so inferior because we can’t do half the things they do. And it seems as though God loves them so much because we see them growing and being blessed and everything, and we start to associate God’s blessing with what those other people are capable of. And we get to thinking of our failures and downfalls so much that we convince ourselves that we have nothing to really offer God. And then we can be like Buzz, where we start doing so much to try to gain the approval of God, and we start to be prideful when we get the praises of men. We realize that everybody’s eyes are on us because we’re so “holy” and are doing so much more than anyone else.
God was trying to remind of something, because it was at my favorite part when I got to the channel. Sid, the next door neighbor, had kidnapped both Woody and Buzz. Woody was trapped underneath a plastic crate, and Buzz was ducktaped to a rocket that Sid was going shoot off in the morning. At this point, Buzz realizes/accepts the fact that he is not an amazing space ranger, but rather a toy like anyone else. He’s very depressed and down on himself, and doesn’t want to do anything or go anywhere, because He feels so useless. They cut to Andy’s house where he’s going to sleep, and he’s asking his mom about both Buzz and Woody because he misses them and doesn’t want to leave without them. And then back to Sid’s room, as Sid slowly falls asleep. And then the greatest conversation of the movie comes:
(Woody whispers to Buzz to help him out, so they can escape back to Andy’s house…)
Buzz: Andy’s house, Sid’s house…what’s the difference?
Woody: Oh, Buzz. You’ve had a big fall. You must not be thinking clearly.
Buzz: No, Woody. For the first time I am thinking clearly. You were right all along. I’m not a space ranger, I’m just a toy, a stupid, little, insignificant toy.
Woody: It’s better than being a space ranger!
Buzz: Yeah, right.
Woody: No, it is. Look. Over in the house there is a kid who thinks you are the greatest, and it’s not because you’re a space ranger, pal. It’s because you are a toy, you are his toy.
Buzz: But why would Andy want me?
Woody: Why would Andy want you?!? Look at you! You’re a Buzz Lightyear. Any other toy would give up its moving parts just to be you! You’ve got wings, you glow in the dark, you talk…your helmet does that…that…that…WHOOOSH thing! You are a cool toy.
(Buzz looks underneath his right foot, and sees, written in permanent marker, “ANDY”)
Wow. That scene gets me everytime (I actually have the audio clip saved on my computer just to listen to and get blessed every now and then). Do you see the connection? You have the good and evil of Andy and Sid. Buzz is so down on himself because he’s not everything that he thought he was, he’s really not the greatest thing in life. Life seems so purposeless to him, that he sees no difference between living with Sid (evil) or going back to Andy (God). He sees no point in trying to get back to Andy, because he has nothing great to offer Andy…there’s no reason he’d want Buzz back. And many times, when I realize how much of a sinner I am, and how stupid I can be, I get in that same mode. I don’t see myself as being “good enough” to get back to God and that God wouldn’t want someone like me. I feel so bland and insignificant.
And then Woody (the long-time Christian) starts to pick his brother up. And he says the most powerful line with “Over in the house there is a kid who thinks you are the greatest, and its not because you’re a space ranger, pal. It’s because you are a toy, you are his toy.” And that’s the message that I need to keep getting drilled in my head. God didn’t say that He loves me because I was capable of so much and I had everything to offer Him. He wanted me because I was His to begin with. He created me, and for simply that reason alone, He desired for me to be with Him. Now that’s love. But then Woody goes off and starts listing off these characteristics about Buzz that makes him special. And we are all so very unique. God has a specific intent for each one of us, and wants to use us in many ways. And every little aspect about us, whether we think its trivial or not, God loves it. We might not see it as anything great or powerful, but God has a big plan in mind where He can get alot accomplished by using what little we have.
The kicker for me, in that scene, is when Buzz looks down at his foot, and sees the name “ANDY” in permanent marker written there. No matter where he went, no matter what he went through, Buzz was always going to be labeled as ANDY’s. That mark was going to be with him until the very end. And whenever we choose to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we get marked with Christ’s name on us. We are officially His. And sometimes we just need to go back to that moment where we first accepted Christ, as Buzz was reminded of Andy first labeling him. THEN we know that we are loved, and we belong to something greater. It is then that we have added strength to escape the filth and danger that we live in and cling to God.
The movie ends with Buzz being able to use what he considered a trivial ability (that he was basically ridiculed for the whole movie for thinking it was anything great) to save the day. Again, it’s not about what we have to offer. God can use any talent, any quirk, whether great or small. The more improbable it seems, the more God loves to use it, because it shows us again and again and again how much we need Him, and how capable we are when we have Him.
I’m so thankful that I’ve been marked by Christ. The talents I once thought were amazing now shine dim when around others, God still chooses to use it for His glory. No matter how many other people can fill my roles that I’ve had throughout my life, God still has other places where He wants to use me. He is never going to forget about me, or look past me. I am always going to be His.