Pretty soon the Linnell house will have a small explosion of toys spread around the house, with multiple Christmas celebrations around the corner. No doubt, someone will get stocked up on LEGOs. Most parents have a love-hate relationship with LEGOs, at least I do. LEGOs for many are nostalgic – we played with them growing up, giving them a certain old school street cred from our past. The brand is still strong today, seen as we take our kids or grandkids to the latest LEGO movies, and buy these various sized boxes of building blocks with their favorite heroes or fantasy worlds. My preference are the Batman-themed LEGOs, as I wanted to be Batman as a kid. A newly opened package of LEGOs + fresh instructions + a clean workspace = a good time. This is what’s to love about LEGOs – the building, the making, the creation.
Now that I’m a dad of four kids, LEGOs are largely my enemy – the villain of Gotham city. The building, the making, and the creating parts end and the kids don’t really play with what they made. Inevitably, what was once a castle, tree house, spaceship or Batmobile ends up as clusters of random landmines on the floor – at which point I have the compulsion to break out the Bat-Vac and go to town.
According to the “How it’s Made” TV show, the LEGO factory in Denmark cranks out 15 billion individual blocks per year – which makes total sense since moms and dads sweep, vacuum, store or otherwise throw out 14 billion LEGOs a year. One of life’s great mysteries is where all those LEGO pieces end up – not unlike the mystery of where all the birds go to die. Seriously with the amount of birds in the world, shouldn’t we see them dropping from the sky? We’ll leave that for another day.
No matter where you find yourself on this love-hate spectrum, we can all agree that LEGOs are manufactured for a purpose. The blocks with protruding cylinders on top and hollow bottoms are made to be assembled together, produced to carry out the purpose of engineering a new little world, character or machine. LEGOs are not created in Denmark to stay in a box as separate blocks never to be assembled. They are sold with instructions, step-by-step guides that help ignite the imagination of the assembler. This is true of any manufactured product – things are made for a purpose. Bubble gum is made to be chewed, snowboards are made to be ridden, cargo ships are assembled to haul things, and airplanes are built to be flown. If it is built, the builder has a purpose for it. Nothing is made with the intention of automatically becoming a collector’s item, something that goes straight to a museum or trophy shelf.
The Bible tells us that followers of Jesus are like a manufactured product, and being a built thing, as the logic follows, have a purpose – a role to play, and a goal to fulfill. Here is the big idea: believers in Jesus are grace-built people – and grace-built people grace bomb people. This is the way I sum up Paul’s words to the Ephesian church when he writes:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
This Christmas season the cultural hustle and bustle will work very hard to keep you distracted from living out your everyday calling to lovingly grace bomb people. For some odd reason, the season that is dedicated to gift-giving somehow pushes us further away from being a gift to others all the time. So when the gift wrap starts to fly, and the LEGO creations are being built for their first and last time, let them be a reminder that you have been put together with a purpose to love, to bless, and to share the great love and grace that you have received.