This isn’t the “Gospel” — but it’s a good take on what life ought to be about. It was meant as an explanation as to why Bill Watterson stopped drawing the hugely successful Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, A Cartoonist’s Advice.
Some might wonder what this cartoon below has to do with Christianity. But to me it illustrates what Christianity is supposed to be all about. Modern evangelicalism emphasizes “salvation-only” as a personal state and does not include social contact theory (covenantalism) as part of our salvation. Salvation has first to do with the person obviously. Christ died to save sinners and that is a glorious thing. But once you are saved, then what?
If you read the story of Abraham, the idea is that salvation is not simply going to heaven, but God taking Abraham’s descendents and building them into a nation that would later effect the salvation of the whole world. Salvation extends into our family, our ministry and vocation — and from there into the whole world. That is the main difference between Puritanism and Pietism, between covenantal theology and dispensational theology. One type of Christianity focuses on getting ourselves to heaven. Another type focuses on how God can use us to bring the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
Note that the artist in the cartoon loves his work more than the money that his work gives him. That represents the covenantal view of work, otherwise known as the Protestant work ethic. Everything we do is to glorify God. Our material prosperity comes because God cares for us. Christians have always prospered when they have worked hard — not because industry brings wealth, but because industry is wealth — and this wealth has meaning only if it glorifies God. In everything we do, the words of the Westminster Catechism are true, “The chief end of man is to know God and to enjoy Him forever.” This saying represents our salvation.
Note also, the father is more concerned with loving and spending time with his daughter and not simply providing for her by affording more and more material things. That should be our attitude toward our children because it is God’s attitude toward us. God holds us in the palm of His hand. Yes, children should be trained and disciplined according to God’s Word. But beyond that, only God can accomplish His work in them. Our relationship with our children ought to reflect our relationship with God and Him toward us. There is nothing we can do to work goodness into ourselves or into our children. We can only enjoy our children and cherish them as God’s gift to us. A friend of mine pointed out to me that our own children are precious angels, but other people’s children are selfish, disobedient brats. This too is a picture of our salvation.
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