Reading was not my favorite activity as a child. I admit as a young boy, I was full of energy, excitement, and wonder and did not fully grasp the necessity to sit still and read. Life is full of irony and as a minister I spend most of my time reading. Scripture, books, research, journal articles, and magazines are the lifeline to my spirituality. Karl Barth the famous theologian extraordinaire said, "We must hold the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.” He was saying there is a direct correlation between the living word of God and the world we live in. While diverse readings are inspiring, I have learned more about the realities of life by reading cartoons. Charlie Brown never kicks the football but never gives up and still forgives Lucy and always gives her another chance. Wile E Coyote never catches the roadrunner but never gives up although he always gets hurt. Shaggy and Scooby still venture off alone to seek truth and justice even though they are terribly frighten. Lucy will still give you her opinion even if you don’t give her five cents. Here are few more: Acme is not a reliable company; Scooby snacks must be delicious; and don’t let Charlie Brown pick out your Christmas Tree.
While cartoons may give us a comedic look on our humanity Jesus uses a parable. In Matthew 24:14-30, Jesus tells another parable about the kingdom of heaven. We recall it as the parable of the three servants. Two servants use what was given to them and brought prosperity to the owner. One servant out of fear buried his and was dealt with harshly. It seems to notify us that the Master expects his servants to be productive. No one can stand still for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have. We either advance towards God or we slip back. It is almost impossible to have a health relationship with God and one another if we are not willing to put in the time and effort. God gives each of us gifts and graces and expects us to use them. God abhors indifference and attitudes of not worth trying. God does not expect more of us that we are capable of but He does expect all of us to use all our capabilities to the fullest. That is something we can’t get from cartoons.