A Lesson from Thomas the Tank Engine

A Lesson from Thomas the Tank Engine
November 20, 2014

My two-year-old loves trains. Anything with wheels, really. But, playing with trains, and watching Thomas the train are by far his biggest requests each and EVERY morning.

So, I've watched more Thomas the Tank Engine episodes in the past six months than I can count. And something each of the animated train characters continue to strive for is usefulness. But, sometimes they strive a little too much.

A lot episodes are about how the engines are getting into trouble because they get jealous and get competitive. Thomas has found himself stuck in snow drifts, speeding out of control, and derailed (among other predicaments) when he tries to do things he is not designed to do.

You can probably see how this connects to us.

How many times do we look at something someone else is doing and desire to live their life instead of our own? How many times each day do we find ourselves comparing our abilities to those around us? And where does this land us?

Stuck. Racing out of control. Derailed.

Comparison, "the thief of joy", misleads us into things we are not designed for. When you're busy trying to keep up with someone else's purpose, you miss out on your own. Racing down the wrong tracks leads to the wrong destination. The wrong purpose.

At the end of the day, when Thomas and his friends learned their lessons and did the jobs they were designed to do, Sir Topham Hatt declared that they were all really useful engines.

In the same way, when we stop comparing and competing, our Father looks at us and says "I am pleased with you", because the best we can be is ourselves. Being at our "best" is not in comparison to anyone. It is knowing and walking in God's purpose for our lives. It is being content with our own set of abilities. Content with the unique track God has laid before us.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, our aim is to be like Jesus. No one else. That, with contentment, is great gain. Only then can we be "really useful".

"Now godliness with contentment is great gain." - 1 Timothy 6:6