When I was about 5 years old, my dad and I built a Viking dragon ship. It was complete with a sail and sailors and oars. It had a rudder and the insignia of the Vikings of old. From bow to stern it was painted jet black, and it was crowned with the head and torso of a great red dragon rising up out of the sea. Of course, the ship was just ten inches long and was destined for a shelf in my bedroom and not the high seas of the North Atlantic Ocean. The box was clearly marked: for display only!
I was so proud of that ship, and though it was a model meant for display on a shelf, it soon became my favorite toy. At that stage in my life, I was fascinated with everything “Viking.” I would maraud around the house, carrying my dragon ship in hand, pretending to be the legendary Leif Erickson, raiding coastlines, instilling fear in townspeople and villagers, and discovering new, far-off lands. That ship brought me countless hours of fun.
However, as the years passed, my great dragon ship became a casualty of my play. One by one, the oars broke away from their mounts, sailors lost limbs and heads, and the sail was torn and then altogether lost. The jet black paint was scraped and chipped, and the face of the red dragon was marred. In my play, I had reduced an object of beauty, and object meant for display and countless years of worth, to a broken and useless thing worthy of the trash heap.
Every day countless lives are treated in the way I treated my dragon ship, treated without regards to the Creator’s design and without a thought given to the tragic consequences of behavior. Lives are broken and twisted, marred and scarred by selfish indulgence and not-too-innocent fun. Justifications are attempted and excuses are made, but at the end of the day, the tragic results remain tragic.
Sin is anything which takes our focus off that which God directs and desires. God is the one who “pieced” us together—he spoke and man and his universe came into being. The great potential with which we were made was and is a product of God’s imagination. In order to be fully who we are meant to be, we must turn our lives to the mastery of our Lord and Creator, observing the “directions” that are clearly printed “on the box.”
In my office, I have displayed many objects and mementos that remind me of great people and fond moments in my life. One object is missing, though. My great dragon ship is nowhere to be found. My abuse of this “toy” resulted in its untimely disposal. In my fun, I ruined a treasured possession.