God and Disney World: Not Even a Thank You

Posted: June 24, 2011 by clairer in Creativity, Pride

Disney’s park Epcot is, in many ways, a celebration of the achievements of mankind. In one area of the park, Future World, there are attractions that show cutting-edge scientific discoveries to improve agriculture. There is a 4D movie theater in which you can soar over wonders of the world, feeling like you’re actually there. There is a ride that claims to be the “longest, fastest attraction in Disney history!” And Future World’s most prominent feature Spaceship Earth: a ride that drives you through a world of animatronics documenting the rise and progression of communication throughout history.

While these things were fascinating and fun to see, there was a distinct feeling that something was missing in all of these displays and shows. Disney, like much of American society, was celebrating all these achievements — these gifts from God — without acknowledgement of the Giver. In fact, many times it celebrated these things while blatantly denying the Creator.

For example, Spaceship Earth’s “History of Communication” display was a really interesting survey of history…except that the starting point was a less-than evolved civilization that lived in caves and spoke through grunts to one another. Not only is this a complete denial of the intelligence and dignity that God gave each human from the beginning of the world, but the display also completely rejects the role that God had in creating the world. As if that’s not enough, the narrator on the ride goes on to talk about the advances in technology and communication as if we, mankind, did it entirely on our own through our innate intelligence. We invented the alphabet. We discovered paper. We invented the printing press. And we “sailed into a bold, new era of communication bringing an explosion of tools and technologies which would bridge people around the world as never before.”

True, from a human perspective, “we” did all this. The Phoenicians invented the alphabet, the Egyptians discovered papyrus, and Gutenberg manufactured the first printing press. However, from a Christian perspective, we’re aware that God was behind all of these discoveries and inventions. God was the one who created humans “in His image,” with the intellect and reasoning ability to create and explore. God was the one who created the rules language…and the one who confused man’s language at the Tower of Babel. God was the creator of papyrus, of the wood and metal that the printing press was made from, and the materials we use today to communicate with one another. God was the one who inspired the minds of those who created these means of communication.

And yet, when we’re celebrating that gift — the technological advances of mankind — how do we thank the Giver? How do we show our thankfulness to the one who created and inspired us? We ignore him. Worse, we deny His existence and take credit for these advances ourselves.

I don’t think Disney is the only culprit here. Too often, I take the gift and forget to acknowledge the Giver. How often have I been praised for my talents, giftings, and abilities and merely accepted those compliments without giving credit to God or without Him even entering my thoughts? How often do I wake up in the morning and go about my day without pausing to thank God for the everyday blessings — breath, food, shelter, family, freedom, and education — that He has provided for me? How often do I pray for something and then forget to return to thank God for the answer to prayer (much like nine of the ten leapers that Jesus healed)?

Christians, in particular, should be the most thankful people on earth. Not only does God provide for all our needs, but he has also solved our greatest problem — He saved us from our sins and gave us eternal life with Him. Do we stop each day and thank Him for that? Or is the gospel something we take for granted?

Our thankfulness and acknowledgement of God doesn’t have to be cumbersome or flashy. It should be an attitude that we adopt. Living thankfully doesn’t mean that every time someone compliments us, we say, “Oh, you should thank God; it’s not me.” But that should be the attitude in our hearts whenever someone praises us. We should view praise and compliments as a reflection on God’s creativity and strength, not our abilities achieved through our hard work. Instead of pridefully allowing such compliments to make us feel good, we should use those occasions to humbly (and often, quietly) thank God for the gifts he has given us.

Living in this manner not only glorifies God (because it acknowledges His power and His creativity over our own), but it also gives us joy in our lives. If we view each blessing (even everyday ones) as an undeserved gift from God, our day is full of joyful celebrations. If we’re focused on thanking God for the blessings that God has given us, our minds will be too occupied by these gifts to think about the things we’re not content with. It transforms our complaining hearts to gratified hearts.

So, as you go through your day, try to take time to notice the gifts that God has surrounded you with and take a moment to just pause and thank Him. If you can take time to write a thank you note to someone who gives you a gift for your birthday, can’t you take just a moment to thank the God who gives you life?

  1. GAE says:

    Hmm…really good points. It’s amazing how cheerful we become when we start to just thank God. We are so incredibly blessed, especially living in the time and place we do. We have material wealth, talents and skills, opportunities, beautiful sunsets, scrumptious food…air conditioning! Just thinking about how blessed we are is refreshing. When we praise the Lord for what He’s done for us, it really does seem to make our problems seem smaller because we realize what an awesome and truly good God we have.

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