Don’t give your children a God-in-the-Box.
When our kids were small, we had a Jack-in-the-Box. We would turn the crank, the melody would play on and on until, suddenly, the jester popped out of the box. Our kids wanted us to turn the crank again and again, and it always surprised. But then they turned three, and Jack was no longer interesting. They outgrew him.
If you give your kids a God-in-the-Box, the same thing will happen. What is a God-in-the-Box like? He is powerless. If you don’t turn the crank, he doesn’t do anything. He’s safe to ignore. You can go weeks, months – years, even – without paying any attention to him but, should you want him, you can turn the crank and he will do your bidding.
Whenever parents treat God that way – ignore him for a while and only get back to him when he fits into their schedule – they are giving their children a God-in-the-Box. If those kids don’t discard him altogether when they’re grown, it will be because of nostalgia, not faith.
A God-in-the-Box can be controlled. When you need him, you just say the right prayers, give a decent amount of money, go to church, and wait for him to pop up. You just have to turn the crank the right number of times.
A God-in-the-Box is smaller than us. We can comprehend him. But the real God awes. He is unpredictable. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [his] ways higher than [our] ways and [his] thoughts than [our] thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). Even his love is beyond anything we can imagine. Who among us would ever have predicted that the God who refused to be put in a box would allow himself to be nailed to a cross?
A God-in-the-Box gets called up to serve our cause. The true God calls us up to serve his. In America today, we see the God-in-the-Box conscripted for many causes – and some of them good … But God is not a pawn…; he is king. He will not be used even in support of a just cause.
(This is an excerpt from the sermon, God-in-the-Box. To see the entire sermon, click here.)