There’s actually a lot wrong with the cute picture of Jesus, the little girl and the teddy bears

People love this meme. And you can defend it in a narrow sense:

People do cling to things they’ve chased after in the world, without understanding that if they’d let go of those things, God would have immensely greater blessings in store for them. That is true.

But this meme is an awful attempt to demonstrate that truth.

First of all, what’s with the idea that Jesus says “just trust me” but hides the information you need behind his back? God doesn’t always tell us everything He knows about why he’s leading us in a direction – and sometimes if He told us everything that’s going to happen, we wouldn’t follow His lead – but He tells us a lot through His Word and through His Spirit. We know He holds forth the promise of eternal life. We know He offers deliverance from sin. He certainly doesn’t hide any of that behind His back.

The implication of this meme is that He’s playing a trick on you – demanding what you have with no indication at all that He’s got something greater in mind. That is not how it works. And He certainly doesn’t tell us to “just trust” Him with no supporting information for why we should trust Him. There are 66 inspired books and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to tell us why we should trust Him.

Then there’s the matter of asking the little girl to give up her beloved teddy bear on the promise of a bigger one. Now a teddy bear is obviously just an inanimate object, although it’s often the subject of sentiment, especially from children. My point here is not to argue there’s inherent value to stuffed animals. But they do often make children feel less alone and more safe and secure, so in that sense you could certainly ascribe some value to them.

That being the case, what’s the big idea suggesting that a giant teddy bear is better than the little one you love? Is that the nature of the blessings God gives us? Bigger is better? Flashier cars? Bigger flat-screen TVs? Bigger teddy bears? If she really loves the little teddy bear, why would she be glad to have given it up because she got handed a monstrosity to which she had no emotional connection?

And that brings us to the final problem with the meme: The people who really are having a problem with holding on to worldly things are not little children. They’re full-grown adults who covet their things, their money, their time, their activities, their status and their carnal indulgences. Show me someone like that, not an innocent little girl who’s perfectly capable of loving her teddy bear while loving Jesus even more.

I understand the need some people feel to break down the challenging truths of the Bible into cutesy illustrations. Honestly, I wish they’d stop.

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