McDonald’s Playland Justice
By Aaron Mitchell
This week, I took my daughter to McDonald’s. She ate her McNuggets quickly, before running over to the play area. She was playing with the other kids, minding her own business for several minutes, before I hear my little girl’s voice chastising another child. A much older boy came up behind her on the sliding board and was going to go down it when she looked him right in the eye and screamed, “Hey you hurt that kid! You can’t go down there!” When he tried to ignore this little girl half his size, she put her little hand in front of him and yelled again, “You can’t go down there! You hurt that girl!” Surprisingly, he conceded.
The other little girl who was crying got up and went home shortly after the incident. My daughter and the boy she confronted started playing together like nothing happened. But, for a moment, I saw the Gospel. I saw what it means to have the faith of a child. You must have the faith of a child, Jesus explains, to enter the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). The focus we hear is usually on the amount of trust a child must have in a parent, or their dependence. Yes, that is what it means. Also, think about this situation; it was cut and dry. Right was right and wrong was wrong. It was plain and simple in my daughter’s mind.
Like her mother, her heart bled for the injustice. This bigger kid just can’t come in here and hurt any little kid he wants to. She saw something that was wrong and she was going to make it right. Why is it we are not as likely to speak up when we get older? What is it that makes us conform to the world around us? Is there a beautiful authenticity we lose as we get older? Does our focus on survival teach us that we must become something we are not to comfortably exist in the world around us? What if this older kid would have hit her? Is it the battle scars we remember from standing up for what was right in the past that keeps us in our place when we are older?
Let’s talk about John the Baptist. “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the Son of Zechariah in the wilderness (Luke 3:1-2).” Consider the list of people mentioned. Some were powerful rulers: Caesar, Governor Pilate, Herod, his brother Philip and Lysanias. Next listed were the two high priests of John’s day, Annas and Caiaphas. Everyone knew those names. However, all on this list were most likely classic conformers and politicians.
God could have chosen anyone to speak for Him, but He chose John. He was related to Jesus, but that isn’t a good enough reason for God to grant that type of responsibility. He was the son of a priest, but that is not why John was chosen for such a task. Being the son of a religious leader may have given him street cred with some people, but that was not it. Think about our media, our politicians and our leaders in business; many got there through the world’s system. Campaigns are based on people’s perceptions, so politicians say the right thing to get the votes. Pastors are chosen for churches in much the same way. We get hired, promoted and make sales based on our ability to play by the world’s rules. We can’t help but fall into this world’s system some. It is all around us.
Who did God choose to prepare the way for Him? Did God choose the cleanest, best-dressed, most popular, smooth talking orator? No, it was this guy standing in the desert eating bugs and honey telling people to repent. John the Baptist had a special call on his life, there is no denying that. But, John’s ministry only worked because God was in it. The strategy on paper doesn’t look very promising. Before you shrug it off and get back to conforming to the world around you, consider the Playland. To get justice in the McDonald’s Playland, one little girl had to see what should be and could be, if she just spoke up.
Thank you for reading!