Our 6 month old has become enthralled with Bob and Larry from VeggieTales. Joni and I think VeggieTales is much better than a good deal of the kids programming currently running on television, so we are glad she is so taken by the tomato and cucumber. One episode that was recorded on our DVR has been playing over and over again in our living room over the past several weeks. I love the message in the story, and wanted to relay it to you because of how profound the lesson is.
In the episode, “A Snoodle’s Tale,” Bob the Tomato tells a Dr. Seuss-like story of a little creature known as a Snoodle. Now, most Snoodles are of average size, however, the young Snoodle playing the main role in the story (pictured right) is smaller than the others. He tries his hand at art, music and even flying, but his talents are not as developed as the other Snoodles in town. The Snoodles around him ridicule his efforts and make him feel terrible for even trying. Every time the young Snoodle fails at something, the other Snoodles paint him a picture to commemorate the failure, and they place each painting in his backpack. He eventually decides to leave town and head toward Mt. Ginches where he has seen the local “finches” flying and soaring through the sky.
Once he reaches the top of Mt. Ginches, he finds a cave which is located “high above the clouds.” Inside the cave, we meet a Stranger, the Creator of the Snoodles (which is a representation of God himself). The Stranger sees the young Snoodle is very depressed, and he asks to see the paintings in his backpack. The young Snoodle reluctantly complies, and is surprised when the Stranger announces that these paintings look nothing like the young Snoodle. The Stranger tosses the terrible memories of the failures into the fire, and tells the Snoodle that He will paint a true image for him to carry in his pack. Here are the words from the poem as it is told just as the Stranger has revealed His painting of the young Snoodle:
The boy in the portrait looked older and strong,
With wings on his back that were sturdy and long,
And a look in his eye, both courageous and free.
“Sir,” asked the boy, “Are you saying that’s–me?
I‘d like to believe it, but, sir, I’m afraid to.”
I built the tower and set it in motion.
I planted the meadow–put fish in the ocean.
And I feed the finches, though most Snoodles doubt it,
Not one of them falls that I don’t know about it.”
I’ve seen all you’ve done and all you will do.
I gave you your pack and your paints and your wings.
I chose them for you. They’re your special things.”
“The Snoodle-kazoo is so you can sing
About colors in autumn or flowers in spring.
I gave you your brushes in hopes that you’d see
How using them, you can make pictures for me.”
“Most of the Snoodles,” the old one said sadly,
“Just use their paints to make others feel badly.”
The young Snoodle pondered the things he’d been told.
Then wondering something, grew suddenly bold.
“But sir, if you made this incredible land,
Can’t you make Snoodles obey your command?”
The big one smiled warmly, then said to the small,
“A that’s demanded is no gift at all.”
So often, I have tried to use my God-given talents much like the Snoodle did in the beginning. He was all about impressing the other Snoodles. At the first sign of ridicule, he decided it was not worth it, and he ran away. He seemed to bury his talents since no one showed appreciation. I LOVE the VeggieTale portrayal of God in this story. We need to be reminded constantly that our talents and abilities were given to us to please God. So, if you can paint, paint for God. If you can sing or play an instrument, make music for God. It is best put as a command in Colossians 3:17 (MSG):
Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
The Stranger finishes:
Keep this in your pack, and you’ll find it will free you
From all of the pictures and all of the lies
That others make up just to cut down your size.”
“And lastly, your wings. You know what they’re for!
But not just to fly, son, I want you to soar!“
Praise be to God for the talents he has given all of us. Are you using your talents to “soar?”