A Lesson on Manhood From The Lego Movie

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Let me openly confess that I was not exactly overjoyed about going to see The Lego Movie. Animated films are not my favorite; I would rather see something go really fast and blow up. However, I promised my kids that I would go with them to see a movie of their choosing this summer. The Lego Movie was one of my favorites on their short list. After watching the movie, I’m delighted to report that I was pleasantly surprised. It was not what I expected and was much funnier than I had anticipated.

If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to know anything about it, here is your SPOILER ALERT! The first 85 minutes (or so) of the film is played out in the imagination of a boy named Finn. Finn has been playing with his father’s magnificent Lego set(s), mixing and matching different pieces and different sets. If you haven’t seen the film, this Lego collection is massive. Finn’s father has signs posted around the Lego collection, “Keep out” and “Kids, DO NOT TOUCH!” The collection is not just important, it’s sacred to Dad. Here’s a scene that encapsulates the way Dad feels about his collection. Dad, played by Will Ferrell, has just discovered that Finn has been messing with the Legos:

Dad: You know the rules, this isn’t a toy!

Finn: Um… it kind of is.

Dad: No, actually it’s a highly sophisticated inter-locking brick system.

Finn: But we bought it at the toy store.

Dad: We did, but the way I’m using it makes it an adult thing.

Finn: The box for this one said “Ages 8 to 14”!

Dad: That’s a suggestion. They have to put that on there.

Finn seems to win the argument with his father, and has to state the obvious: “Dad, you are a grown man and you have a fetish with childish toys.” Here’s what struck me: what childish toys are still important to me? Are there any “toys” in my life that I have made into idols? In his letter to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul says, “When I became a man I put childish things behind me” (I Cor 13.11). I’m 41 years old; what are the “childish things” that I have yet to put behind me? I have a football card collection that is pretty important to me. I have some possessions that I value rather highly. Perhaps I need to stop and ask, “WHY are these things so important to me?”

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to have a Lego collection, or a card collection. I’m not saying it’s wrong to enjoy nice things. But I would like to suggest that perhaps there is “a more excellent way” (1 Cor 12.31). I am simply asking if we’ve made idols out of things that we should not? Are the things that we think are important REALLY the most important? Have I made things more important than people?

Toward the end of The Lego Movie, we see a transformation take place: Dad has an epiphany. He realizes that people are more important than things; his son, and his son’s joy, is more important than the beloved Lego collection.  He makes a very manly decision, and chooses “a more excellent way.” Well done Dad. Well done.

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