Friday, September 20, 2013

Jesus and Handy Manny

Until a couple of years ago, my son Brandon regularly watched an animated series on Disney Junior titled "Handy Manny."

Manny is a handy man of course, and he is always fixing what's broken around town. Manny relies on his assortment of tools to help him get the job done, whatever it may be.

There are some main tools seen in every episode, some tools that reoccur in several but not all episodes, and then some that are seen in very few episodes.

Manny and the tools hang out together in his repair shop until they get a call requesting help. Manny and the tools quickly set out to help whoever is in need.

Now the tools have diverse and unique personalities and characteristics, and I imagine if my tools were animated, I'd probably not put up with some of their shenanigans. But Manny just smiles through it, finds the best tool for the job, and together (sometimes with a little push, and sometimes with a little pull) they fix whatever is broken.

Sometimes, a tool may try to fix a problem on his own, without Manny's help. This always leads to disaster. The tool learns that he is just a tool, and it's Manny who needs to plan and direct the work. Sometimes, an overzealous tool learns that as hard as he might want to be the tool used to fix the problem, he may not be the right tool for the job.

Once everyone cooperates with Manny, things get fixed, and everyone is happy.

Isn't it the same way with Jesus and us?

We need to hang out with Jesus, but we live in a broken world where there's always work to do. And Jesus relies on us to Help Him get the job done. We are His tools.

And man, sometimes we can be real "tools" can't we? We certainly have diverse and unique personalities and characteristics, but Jesus always sees through who we are, finds the best in us, and uses us to accomplish His plan.

We have to be able to accept the frequency and the degree to which Jesus uses us in His plan. Sometimes we may be a little over-zealous. Sometimes, we may be slow to act. Sometimes we may think we can get the job done on our own, without Jesus, or maybe we try to fill a role that was meant for someone else.

But when we all learn how to better cooperate with Jesus, letting Him choose the right "tool" and using that tool for it's intended purpose, things get fixed, and everyone is happy.

There's one more part to the story that I think fits here.

On their mission, so to speak; on their way to the repair site, Manny and the tools run into Mr. Lopart. Mr. Lopart always has something that needs to be fixed, but although he lacks experience and skill, he always tries to fix his problems on his own.

In fact, Manny and the tools always offer to help, but Mr. Lopart refuses the help, sometimes indignantly, and of course makes things much worse than they were before.

There are a lot of Mr. Loparts in the world, trying to fix their own problems, failing to admit that they need help. Often times they are offered help but refuse to be helped. Yes, sometimes they are indignant as well.

Well, the way Manny and the tools handle Mr. Lopart is a lesson for us as well.

When Mr. Lopart refuses their help, Manny and the tools bid him a cheerful and well-meaning good-bye, and carry on with the mission they set out on. Each time though, that they come upon Mr. Lopart wrestling with a new problem, they always cheerfully and sincerely offer their help.

Maybe one day the Mr. Loparts of the world will accept the help of Jesus and His tools.

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