I have what I call a quirk. Some people call it an addiction. My wife calls it an insane obsession that may take over my life and leave me a hollow shell of a man. I collect Nerf guns. They are actually called “blasters.” Have you ever shot one? It is an incredibly fun experience. No, Disneyland is an incredibly fun experience. Shooting the right Nerf gun is destiny fulfilling glee. Okay, maybe I’m obsessed.
Here’s some of my collection.
I’d love to be able to tell you that I played with Nerf guns when I was a kid and that’s why I collect them, but the first Nerf blaster that shot darts came out in 1992. That is the year I graduated from high school. I was already “too old” for playing with Nerf guns in the terribly unkind, age-discriminatory eyes of the world.
I’ve always loved the way they feel in your hands. They are huge. They are not made for kid’s hands. If you own a Nerf blaster go check it out. It fits your adult hand doesn’t it?
I have one of the very first Nerf blasters made in 1992. (I actually have 3 but only one is in mint condition.) It’s not quite as big as Nerf guns today but it was still too big for kids. But by the second generation of Nerf guns they were the huge grown up size we see today.
Hey Nerf, why are your guns so big?
Why is this? Is Nerf really targeting adults with their blasters? The packaging says that they are for ages 8+. (Some say 6+ just for the record and I frequently buy them for 5 year old birthday parties personally.) But the point is, Nerf is making adult size toys for kids.
I own over 200 different ones (don’t judge!) and they are all made to fit grown-up hands. They are actually a little awkward for kids to shoot. At a family retreat one time I will never forget watching a tiny kid in a sagging diaper, and nothing else, using his mouth to cock MY gun and shoot people while cackling wildly. I miss that gun.
Hasbro, the company who owns Nerf, is genius. They know that kids don’t want kiddie stuff. They want to be taken seriously. They want to play with daddy’s tools. They want real make-up. They want to count.
If you don’t believe me, find a couple of 8th graders who are “dating” and call their relationship “puppy love” to their face.
Kids long for validation. Actually we all do, but this desire is what Hasbro has tapped into to sell their blasters to kids.
The Church could learn a thing or two from this harbinger of delight known as Nerf. In every aspect of life, kids are made to sit at the kiddy table. “You can’t vote.” “You’re too young to drive.” “You’re too little to perform myocardial valve reconstruction.” And these biases are valid. They’re just kids.
In the one area of life that matters, kids are on identical footing with adults. When it comes to serving God, we are all equally qualified.
Need some proof, you skeptic?
Think about how God routinely used the weak to do wonders. It’s a theme of the Bible.
Moses with his speech impediment was the voice of His people.
Gideon, the weakest guy from the weakest family from the weakest region, won a huge victory but only after God made him and his men WEAKER so they would know God won the victory.
David beat Goliath.
Saul got in trouble for numbering the people to give himself an idea of “how strong he was.”
God’s love of getting glory from using the weak for great things is wonderful news for kids.
Think about the biggest crowd to whom Jesus ever spoke. It was when He was actually getting away from the crowd, but the crowd followed Him into the wilderness. There we 5000 men. That doesn’t count the women and children.
My favorite arena in the world is probably Municipal Auditorium in Nashville. It’s old and dark and awesome. It seats around 8000 folks for most events. That is probably about the same crowd Jesus was dealing with.
Municipal has teams of teams of people working on concessions at their events. It is hard to feed 8000 people. The crazy thing is Jesus fed them that day with a little boy’s Lunchable.
That’s what he had. It was the equivalent of the horrible little pepperoni pizza Lunchable my wife and I send our kid off to school with except it didn’t even come with a Capri-Sun.
How cool must that have been for that kid! “Here, take Jesus my lunch. I know it’s just a sardine Lunchable, but it’s all I have and I guess it beats nothin’.”
You know when those disciples laid out those 12 tupperware baskets of leftovers, Jesus gave that boy a little wink. Try telling that kid that he was too young to be used by God after that day, I dare you.
Can you hear him telling his friends and family what had gone down that day? “No seriously, it was 5 crackers and 2 sardines. It just kept coming. He used my lunch. Me and the King fed 5000 hungry people. I COUNT!”
Is your ministry sized to fit small hands or does it challenge them to serve bigger? Let’s challenge our kids to serve Him big.
By the way, are you feeling small today? Perfect, you are just the kind of person God loves to get glory through.