Wind-up toys have been around since the 1880s when they first became popular and were mass produced. Usually made out of tin, iron, or some other metal, they had a wind-up key that turned a clockwork-type spring tight inside the toy. When the spring slowly unwound it ran a series of gears that produced the toy designer’s intended motion for the toy. Both the introduction of plastic in toy production and the availability of economical alkaline batteries led to their decline in popularity, though there are still a considerable number of wind-up toys made of plastic.
I’m going to make a deep and profound theological statement here; we’re all wind-up toys! You won’t find this statement in any thick theological book, so just hear me out as to why I think it’s accurate to state that we’re all wind-up toys.
Picture yourself, everyone you know, and all the people you don’t know, as having a wind-up key protruding from the back between the shoulder blades. We’re all like the vintage metal wind-up toys in that we need winding up.
Imagine we can reach around behind ourselves and wind ourselves up. This is a lot of the advice of self-help books; reach around and pat yourself on the back and tell yourself how wonderful you are. It’s all up to you! Imagine a wind-up toy designed to reach its arms behind its back to wind itself up. It wouldn’t work; the energy it would take to wind itself up would take more energy than it has. It would have to be a perpetual motion machine, impossible because it would have to break one or two laws of thermodynamics.
Maybe the wind-up toys could wind each other up? It would give new meaning to the phrase, “I’ve got your back.” But again, the laws of thermodynamics would apply, and eventually all the toys would wind down.
There needs to be an outside source to wind up the toys, it’s the only way to keep the toys moving. The same principle (a theological principle, if you will) applies to us. The Divine Toy Maker has created us, wound us up with life, and keeps us wound up. Yes, there’s a place for self-motivation, winding ourselves up some. There’s certainly also a place for us to wind each other up with words of encouragement and by lending a hand. We do need to have each other’s back. But the human race is more than a closed environment of wind-up people. We need an outside source, that which is beyond us, to keep us going!
Wind-up Toys R Us! In our going here, there, and back again, going through our daily motions of being human, we should never stray far from the Divine Toy Maker. He’s created us and can keep us going, making motions that matter!
“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” (Psalm 105:4)