My kids and I recently watched a powerful story about baby animals in a Disney Nature film called “Growing Up Wild.” One of the babies, a monkey, lived within a troop of fifty monkeys that, by nature, heavily depend on a social class system. If a monkey is born into a good family, it gets the best food and the best chance at survival. If a monkey is in the lowest of classes, it sadly doesn’t fare well.
We watched the dramatic footage of one poor orphan trying and failing to fend for himself multiple times. He scrounged for any meager scraps of food he could get, and my daughter gasped when he was hit and shoved away by older monkeys as they guarded their food for their royal babies.
As time passed, the monkey gradually lost strength. He grew fragile and tired, and the narrator explained he would not make it much longer. But just as all hope seemed to be lost, the camera eye turned to the alpha monkey, the male leader of the monkey troop. The leader saw the little one and unexpectedly took pity on him, acting totally out of the social precedent of his troop. In the most tender of scenes, we watched in awe as he picked up the orphaned monkey to himself. The little one immediately clung to his chest, wrapping his arms around him.
We are loved by a good Father
We are that little monkey. We are the undeserving, broken, needy runts of the litter, yet God sent his son Jesus to destroy all physical and spiritual barriers–royalty becoming peasantry–to wrap his arms fully and completely around us and become our adopted Father. He rescued us from death and he didn’t stop there! He gave us His name, calling us his chosen people, His royal priesthood, a people belonging to Him (1 Peter 2:9).
After discussing this scene, my kids and I also talked about the sad reality that some people are pushed around just like these little monkeys, for no good reason except that someone has decided they aren’t worthy of being called human. We talked about how it’s good to feel sad because it’s not God’s best plan for the world. Being sad is indication that the Holy Spirit lives in us and is speaking truth to us about our broken world.
Then we discussed ways we can be like that adoptive father monkey, looking out for the needy ones in his troop. What can we do for people when we see them being mistreated? How can we partner with God to bring His Kingdom on this earth and join His redemption plan?
Jesus said that when we are loving people in need, we are actually loving him.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me...And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25:35-40).
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” (Psalm 68:5).
Not only do we have the privilege of serving our King alongside Him in his Kingdom, but we also have the greatest privilege of all: we get to cling to his chest and call him Daddy. So we can pray Abba, Daddy.
Daddy, thank you for loving us when we were still sinners. We’ve never deserved your love and yet you give it unfailingly, always welcoming us back when we turn away. Help us to offer that same love to the helpless, the needy, the hurting and the sinners, remembering that you did it for us and we do it for you. Thy Kingdom come. You are making all things new! Amen.