Are you Team Mike or Team Sully?
Not exactly the comparison between werewolves and vampires, but nevertheless we are still talking monsters – right? One is a one-eyed walking tennis ball narrated by the great Billy Crystal, and the other is an abominable blue man booming out the voice of larger-than-life John Goodman.
In Monsters, Inc., we are introduced to Mike and Sully as the best of friends, but in Monsters University we get insight into the inception of this deep camaraderie that almost never was. Mike the nerdy guy and Sully the jock type were sworn opponents, but this film demonstrates how the right circumstances can turn the worst of enemies into the best of friends.
And even though the storyline for Monsters University takes place in a parallel universe where slugs try to play hacky-sack and characters like Dean Hardscrabble make you remember your worst teacher with fondness by comparison, there is a real world message that I hope you don’t miss.
It’s called teamwork, and that is a subject that Jesus’ followers are flunking in a huge way…
Infighting, jealousy, self-promotion, entitlement, and favoritism are not just elements that comprise a plot in a film. Unfortunately, these are also some of the descriptors the world employs when describing those who claim to know Christ. Just like a bunch of little monsters trying to position ourselves for the best future, we define ourselves by labels and classes while our friends who don’t know Jesus watch with bewilderment or scorn.
So what’s the solution? Teamwork!
(Minor Spoiler) In Monsters University, a specific competition helped Mike and Sully come together and iron out their differences, and if you haven’t heard, it’s about time we do the same. Our competition is not for a “scarier” position; rather we are fighting to help keep people out of the scariest place in the universe!
Put simply, there are people who are dying and going to hell. And whether you are realizing this for the first time or you’ve heard it so many times that it sounds like a broken record, your heart should break over this truth. Hell is worse than the worst nightmares Pixar or anyone else could dream up in 3-D CGI, so let’s be like Mike and Sully and integrate this spiritual reality into our worldview.
And let’s also realize that even though we all have different gifts and talents, the only way we will win souls in this competition with Satan is to work together as a team:
Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything.
Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.
I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together.
The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t (1 Corinthians 12:12-18;25, The Message).
Do you see how this heavenly plan for teamwork works? At this very moment in the very place you are sitting, you have a unique and powerful gift for helping others that will go to waste if you don’t join up with other believers and get in the competition! I need you to jump into the struggle, and you need me as well. Some of you may play the large and boisterous role of bringing people to Jesus like a Sully for the Savior, and others may be the “nerdy” folks like a Mike gone missionary – but the point is that we all must fulfill our calling in the Body of Christ for THE Cause of making disciples who make disciples.
So if you’re feeling left out or kicked out of a dream you had for your life, count it as a favor God has done for you. He wants to use you in ways you can’t imagine, all you need to do is step up along with your brothers and sisters and make it happen.
At least that’s what I learned from Monsters University!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
While it’s fun to watch monsters learn how to scare imaginary children, let’s not forget how scary hell really is. Pray for great summer opportunities to use your gifts alongside other believers, share your faith and lead your friends to Jesus
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Jesus, please use me to help deliver my friends from the nightmare of hell. Don’t let me get used to the idea of hell. Break my heart for the lost You came to save. Show me my gifts and talents to be used by You in THE Cause.
Read: Galatians 3:28. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Get: For help determining your own spiritual gifts, check out this free online spiritual gifts test.
Discussion Questions for Leaders:
Big Idea: Christians need to come together as a team with our gifts and talents to help people who don’t know about the nightmare of hell and the dream of a perfect relationship with God and an eternity in heaven.
Key Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12-18;25
- Which Monsters movie did you like better? Why?
- Does the fact that people are dying and going to hell impact you emotionally? Why or why not?
- Do you know what your specific spiritual gifts are? [If not, check out the free online spiritual gifts test at http://mintools.com/spiritual-gifts-test.htm.
- How can you use your gifts and talents alongside other believers?
- In what ways could you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause of making disciples who make disciples?