Do you remember when Mr. Potato Head saved those three little aliens in Toy Story 2? It was a somewhat minor detail amidst an in-depth search and rescue mission to save Woody, lead by Buzz and the other Buzz. Buzz, and the rest of Andy’s toys, had finally tracked down Woody’s kidnapper, Al McWhiggin aka the Chicken Man (voiced by Wayne Knight), and were chasing him to the airport in a Pizza Planet delivery truck. It’s a very dramatic scene. Andy’s toys are so focused on saving Woody that they don’t seem to notice the aliens strung from the truck’s rearview mirror. During the chase, Rex frantically directs Buzz to turn left and in doing so, the aliens detach from the mirror and head out the window. They would have been lost had not Mr. Potato Head jumped to their rescue. The other toys didn’t notice Mr. Potato Head’s heroics. They were focused on saving Woody, even Mr. Potato Head was, but the aliens were forever changed. He had saved their lives and they were eternally grateful (and yes, spoiler alert, Woody was eventually saved).
To me, that scene, comedic and childish antics aside, sheds light into the nature of salvation. Devotion is a natural response after being saved. Salvation, simply defined, is a process that requires “savees” and a savior. “Savees” are the ones who both need and recognize their need to be saved, while a savior is the one who meets that need. For the aliens, Mr. Potato Head was their means of salvation. They were stuck (literally) in the routine of life until a sharp turn sent everything out the window, but Mr. Potato Head was there to save them. Their lives would have been lost had he not reached out and they knew that. It’s no surprise that they thus deemed him to be the greatest toy ever. As a result, they willingly devoted themselves to him by following him everywhere and repeatedly thanking him.
I find myself identifying with those weird little green toys. I’m no different, and I wager neither are you. We’re all “savees.” We need to be saved because we were born into sin (Psalm 51:5, Ephesians 2:1-3) and as such, deserve death (Romans 6:23). But God, in His mercy, provided a means of salvation through Jesus (John 3:16-18). He is our Savior and the only way which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). Our response should be like theirs, devotion, but is it?
I’m reminded of the chorus of Great Are You Lord, which sings, “It’s Your breath in our lungs so we pour out our praise to You only.” How amazingly true those words are. It is literally God’s breath in our lungs. He breathed into the first man’s lungs (Genesis 2:7) and continues to breath into ours each day. He alone has the power to give and take away (Job 12:9-10). Not only does He provide the breath of life that we need to survive on earth, but also in heaven through Jesus. We will “breathe” forevermore with our Creator once this life passes and eternity begins (John 14:1-3). Because of all God has done and yet to do, we should be eternally grateful. Our God is great and mighty, worthy to be praised. Without Him, we’re nothing. With these truths in mind, we should devote ourselves to Him by following Him (Luke 9:23) and repeatedly thanking Him (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). He should be our obsession.
For many of us, we are tempted to forget who God is or what He has done which causes us to lack in devotion to Him. Like those aliens, we just exist. We wake up, eat, do work, sleep and repeat our routine, with variations, again the next day. It seems that we are only reminded of God’s greatness when life takes a turn. When we come out of depression, when we finally land a job, when our relationships are restored, then we see God.
I am challenged to combat that mindset myself. Jesus saved me once and for all when He died on the cross (Romans 6:8-10, Romans 11:25-36). Though I may forget Him, He never leaves me whether life is smooth or headed out the window (Deuteronomy 31:6). Each day, I have the choice to remember these truths and devote myself to Him. I pray for that I chose to do so and invite you to join me in doing so.