June 27, 2019 • Lee Faler
If you’re reading this, then you are likely in one of two places:
One, you have kids or grandkids that want to see Toy Story 4, so you are planning on taking out a small loan to take them to see it, because let’s face it, going to the movies is expensive.
Two, you’re like me and since Toy Story 4 was announced you’ve been counting down the days until it’s release, and you have every intention of sticking out in the movie theater worse than Billy Madison on the first day of kindergarten.
Regardless of your situation, the fact is that many Christians will be seeing this film. I believe there are themes that present in Toy Story 4 that we can latch on to that will help us work the gospel into everyday conversations. What are those themes? Let’s discuss them and hopefully I won’t give away too many spoilers.
Sin and God’s pursuit of sinners.
During Toy Story 4 you are introduced to a character named Forky. Without giving too much away, Forky constantly wants to make his home in a trash can. Woody pursues Forky over, and over again in efforts to keep Forky out of the trash. As you see Forky constantly wanting to find a home in the trash, think about how easy it is to find a comparison between Forky and us.
Before Christ we were very good at finding our home in the “trashy” ways of this world following it’s ways, and customs. More than that we weren’t just worldly, we were dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1-4). But God pursued us, to the point of giving Christ for our salvation, even when we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). In fact, most of the movie centers around Woody trying to rescue Forky from several different scenarios. As you see this unfold in Toy Story 4 be reminded of the greatest rescue mission every attempted, which occurs in the gospel.
Throughout much of the movie Forky is convinced that he is trash. Woody eventually convinces him that he is a toy thus changing his identity. It is then that Forky discovers his value. This is, in my opinion, a subtle yet powerful moment in the film. Think about the people that you come into contact with everyday. What do they find their identity in? Is it their career? Is it their income? Is it their relationships? If they are finding their identity outside of Christ, then nothing else will ever satisfy them. They are drinking from wells that can’t hold water, when Jesus offers living water. Capitalize on this.
Early in the movie a dialogue about an “inner voice” takes place between Woody and Buzz. Woody goes as far as to say “My inner voice wouldn’t leave me alone.” The truth is that all of humanity has an “inner voice” called our conscience. It convicts us of right and wrong, but why do we have a conscience? We have a conscience to simply reveal that God’s law is written on our hearts (Romans 2:15). At the end of the day however, our conscience apart from Christ is tortured, and applying the gospel is the only remedy for an inflamed conscience. Think about the lost people you know. They have morals, and they obviously have a conscience, but do they feel like they are honestly doing enough? Do they still feel conviction? Do they still feel as if they aren’t being moral enough? Point them to the cross through this theme in Toy Story 4.
I refuse to spoil this part of the movie. In the movie one unnamed character has to make a sacrifice for another unnamed character and like Forest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that. When we think on the gospel, we are thinking on the sacrifice that Jesus made for you and me. He is our atoning sacrifice, meaning He was sacrificed in our place so that our sin could be covered. A price had to be paid so that we could be forgiven. Don’t miss this theme in Toy Story 4.
Did the writers of Toy Story 4 intend for these themes to be picked up on by it’s viewers? I highly doubt it. As followers of Christ though we are called to make the best use of our time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16). People will be talking about this movie, so make the best use of your time by working the themes of sin and God’s pursuit of sinners, identity, conscience, and sacrifice into the conversations you will be having on a day to day basis.