Today I had the privilege of preaching at my church. Doesn’t happen too often, but when I do I often find myself looking for a creative outlet. Writing stories can really draw out the point in the fashion of Jesus’ parables. The prophet Malachi provides a very interesting way of writing using a Father asking questions of his children.
Here’s my take using that style and the setting of a father talking to his son about shovelling snow!
Enjoy and keep looking for the family rhythms that point us back to faith in Jesus.
“I Love You My Little Man”
D Hey son! Love you my little man!
S Really? How? (1:2)
D Well…hmm. You see, there’s a lot of little boys around the world. How many of them get to be in our family?
S Just me.
D Ya! You get to share everything I have. You get to be with me and our family! Sadly, not everyone gets to be in our family. But you are! And I love you! (1:3-5)
S Pff. So What! I don’t care.
D [Pauses] Hmm. Ok, I love you so much my little man! Son, in our family, we show love by taking care of others. I have a job of shovelling the driveway and spreading salt for you to do. How do you think you can care for others when you complete this job well?
S I dunno. Keeps em from slipping I guess.
D Great! Fantastic! You don’t want others to get hurt do ya?
D All right then. I’ll check in with you later on your job. All set?
S Pff. Fine.
D Hey son! I asked you to shovel the driveway. How’d it go?
S Well…I did it [with an insincere look].
D Ya, how does it look to you? Is it clear for our car and safe to walk on?
S Uhhh. Noooo-uh!
D [Breathe] Mmmm. Not too safe huh? Son, do you understand what honour is? Honour shows that you value and respect someone like me, your father and anyone that walks on our driveway. How could you show honour with this job I’ve asked you to do?
S But, how have I not honoured you?
D You clearly understand what a safe driveway looks like right? If you don’t shovel it well is that honouring?
S errr! No.
D Hmm. I think you can give it another shot. Do you think you can give me your very best effort so that the driveway is clear and safe and others know they’re honoured? Before you go, a couple reminders. First, son, I love you so much my little man! You’re so eager to get the job done fast aren’t you?
D Ya. You’re fast, athletic. You want to win! There’s a little more to winning. Doing the job well, not just fast. Second reminder, if the job is done well, things will go so well for you and us, but if it isn’t done well, things may not go so well. Do you want me to go outside with you to help things go well or do you want to go on your own?
S Pff. My own! Fine! [Stomps off]
D Hey son! How’d it go this time?
S … [frowning]
D Do you think the driveway is clear and safe?
D I took a look. Looks like you shovelled a pathway on the grass, you made a snow man (which is amazing by the way. You’re so creative, love to have fun and artistic!). There is still a pile of snow in front of the driver’s door, though and still a lot of ice. So you got a start. I can see you’ve put some work in. Did you do the job I asked? (1:6-2:12)
S [eye roll] Nooooo-uh!
D [with compassion] I love you my little man. And I just can’t accept what you’ve done.
S [crying] Nooo, daddy. Nooo, what did I do wrong? I don’t want to be in trouble! Noooo! Waaaaaa! This isn’t fair! Why?????
D Has the job you’ve done shown honour? Does it show you’ve done what’s right and worked faithfully?
S [sniffing] No.
D I can see you’re doing some work and you say you’ll do the job well, yet is it complete? Is it your best? I’m kinda getting tired of the way you speak to me. (2:13-16)
S But, but, but, how have I made you tired? Words don’t make you tired.
D Well, have you made right choices so far?
S … [fuming]
D You haven’t made right choices here even though you said you would. Do you think I’m not being fair or just when I can’t accept your work? I am being just because I know what you can handle. So here’s what’s up. Do you want to know what I’m going to do?
D I love you my little man, but things are…going to get harder for you. Maybe a little hot. [Thinking] What do you think will happen when gold and silver chunks are set into a fire?
S I dunno.
D Well inside these chunks there are parts that aren’t pure gold or pure silver. The heat will melt the metal and all the bad parts will separate from the good parts. What do you think is better? Gold and silver with the bad parts all mixed in or pure gold and silver with no bad parts in them?
D Ya! I see gold in you son. And I see some parts that aren’t so golden. Do you think we can get rid of those bad parts, learn to make right choices and show honour?
D Hey son, you can when you come close to me and let me remove the bad parts form you! (2:17-3:6)
S Dad, no! I can’t. How am I supposed to do that? It’s too hard! (3:7)
D [thinking] Do you like challenges? I challenge you to bring me your super best with whatever you’ve got! And check this out, challenge me! Do you think I won’t break out the best steak and crack open the candy container and we’ll have a party? Even more, all your buddies will be like, “Oh snap! He is #blessed!” (3:8-12). [Sigh] Son, can you bring me your super best and not speak harshly against me?
S Daaaaaaaaaad! How have I spoken harshly to you?
D Have you said things like “There’s no point doing what my dad asks?” Or “What’s the point of giving my best? Or “My friends get all the good stuff and they don’t have to do this work. I just get all the work. I don’t LIKE the work.” (3:13-15). I know, work is hard. Right?
D Making right choices is even harder. Would you rather avoid faithful work, keep your bad parts and miss out on our good relationship? Or would you rather get rid of the bad parts, live with honour, defeat those ‘wrong choice’ monsters and shine like gold and be free to live fully in the sunshine?
D Remember always, I love you, my little man! Come here. (4:1-6)