toy trains


I come downstairs to a greeting much like this every morning. The signs of my son’s latest obsession. Ever since we started watching the Polar Express before Christmas we have started a journey of train exploration like none other. When my son plays, it is with trains. When he watches a movie, it is The Polar Express. When he talks about what he wants to be when he grows up, it is a conductor or an engineer (I so hope these jobs are still available when he grows up). And so every morning when I begin my day I am greeted with the signs of the previous day’s train adventures. I am reminded that my son has been hard at work acting out a world that matters most to him.

I could probably stop there and let the inference be enough…but that’s not my style;) In II Corinthians 2:14 the apostle Paul writes,  “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.” As captives in the procession of Christ. Think about that imagery. We are so caught up by the person of Jesus that we are like prisoners following after him.  Paul then goes on to say that as prisoners we are spreading the ‘aroma’ of the knowledge of Christ. The word in Greek is better defined as ‘stink’. I know that is a hard one to swallow, but go with me here. I can think of one ‘stink’ that might illustrate this best. Have you ever had a skunk linger outside your home (or worse been sprayed by or had a pet sprayed by a skunk)? The smell permeates, it lingers, the evidence of the skunk’s presence is inescapable.

Like the skunk’s aroma, the evidence of my son’s train obsession is easy to identify. Sometimes my feet even provide proof as I step on a toy in the early morning light. Sometimes my ears are flooded the reenactment of scenes from The Polar Express as the conductor attempts to right the train while skidding on ice. Sometimes my mind scrambles for answers as I am quizzed on the intricate inner-workings of a steam engine. But I wonder if these same evidences exist with us and our Christ journey. Do people find our Jesus moments littering the places we have been? Does our proclamation of how Christ has changed our life linger in the air for others to hear after we have left our places of business and recreation? Do our peers and loved ones become overwhelmed by our Jesus talk and questions of how best to bring the Kingdom to earth? Do we ‘stink’ of Jesus?

I know at first that may seem like a crude thought but I guess what I ultimately want to ask is….are we leaving toy trains?

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