What I learned from Disney in accordance with the Christian life
#1 – Don’t rest on your Laurels!
It has been about twenty years since I’ve been to disney, and one thing I noticed was, things have changed. Granted, I was only about 7 or 8 when I was there, but just seeing how huge they have grown showed me how innovative Disney really is.
There are only four things I remember from Disney back when I was a kid; Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, and the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride. Those experiences were great, and they would have been great again. But all of the new rides made the experience even more exciting.
Disney could have ended their development twenty years ago and they would still be one of the most sought after theme parks in the world. But disney didn’t stop twenty years ago, and that’s what is going to assure that they are still the number one theme park for many years to come.
There are hundreds of closed and condemned theme parks across the United States. The rush and thrill is replaced by the hush and still. Rides are torn down or left to fall apart, and concession stands are empty of their cheap toys and candy. Nothing is left in these ghost parks anymore. There is a reason why Disney does not share the same fate. They have never rested on their laurels.
In ancient Greece, when racers would compete, the winners were given a crown of laurels. These leaves represented victory and accomplishment which were the results of a lot of hard work. Today, athletes spend their whole lives exercising and beating their bodies up for a chance to make it to the Olympics and win a gold medal. The few who are privileged enough to win are the pinnacle of hard work and devotion. However, all that hard work and dedication are nullified if the athlete decides to take a week or two off right before a big race. Resting on your laurels means that you’re banking on past successes as a means of staying ahead.
Like the theme parks that have closed their gates, I’ve seen plenty of churches that have closed their doors. Sure, their are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the biggest reasons that I’ve seen is that Christians are too content to rest on their laurels. It’s good to look back over the past several decades and delight in the high points in our spiritual journey, but when is the last time you’ve really seen the hand of God move? How long has it been since you’ve had an experience that couldn’t be explained by anything other than a miracle? Part of the reason we don’t see God working in our lives is because we’ve gotten lazy and comfortable in our tight Christian communities. When is the last time we did something completely out of the box and innovative? I think the two go hand in hand. If we’re not stepping out in faith, and exercising our salvation, we can’t expect God to bless us with spiritual fitness.
Paul tells us to work out our salvation with FEAR and TREMBLING and he paints a picture for us on what that looks like in I Corinthians 8.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a pershipable wreath (Laurels) but we an imperishable. So do I not run aimlessly; I do not bos as one beating the air. But I discipline my dody and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
Let’s not rest on our laurels, but run till the end where we can hear our Saviour say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”