Recently, we’ve had some construction going on behind the condo complex where we live. It’s fun to watch these CAT tractors doing their thing as they rearrange the earth. Grown adults playing in the dirt…and getting paid for it! This reminded me of my love for Tonka Trucks as a young boy.
I have fond memories of visiting my grandparents in Byron, Wyoming when I was growing up. Our family would load up the car and make the 22 hour drive from Myrtle Creek, Oregon over the course of 2 to 3 days. Along the way, we would usually drive through Yellowstone National Park which meant we only had a couple hours of driving left before arriving in my dad’s hometown of 400 people.
A few of those memories include riding around with my grandpa on his red Farmall tractor, sitting at the breakfast table eating grandma’s homemade bread & strawberry jam, and making paper boats to float down the irrigation canal across the street.
But perhaps one of my best memories I have is finding a pile of old, rusted Tonka trucks under some lilac bushes in their backyard. These toys belonged to my Uncle Vernon, the youngest of my dad’s siblings. When I stumbled across them at perhaps 5 or 6 years old, it was like finding a long, lost treasure. I would spend hours filling up the dump truck with dirt, unloading the dirt and then smoothing out the dirt with the big Grader.
Years later, I remember Uncle Vernon recalling his own fond memories of playing in the dirt with those trucks and my dad getting down on his hands & knees to play with him. You see, when Vernon was only 5 years old, my dad Ken was 18 and getting ready to head off to college in 1969. To this day, my dad & uncle maintain a close relationship that goes back to those special bonding times in the dirt. Dad wasn’t afraid to get dirty in order to make those memories with his little brother. Though 13 years separated them, those Tonka trucks put them on equal ground.
Isn’t this what Jesus did when He stepped into our world?
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” – John 1:14 (NLT)
The Message translation puts it this way…
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.”
Moved into the neighborhood. I like that! Jesus decided to get down on his hands and knees in order to play Tonka trucks with us. He wanted to bond with us and show us a glimpse of his Father. He wasn’t afraid to get dirty in the process even though he was without sin…
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” – Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)
For 33 years, Jesus showed us what living life to the fullest looks like. He touched lepers, ate with sinners, gave sight to the blind and stood up to religious bullies even though it led to him being crucified on a Roman cross. His death and resurrection provided the means by which we can one day step into His neighborhood for eternity.
I imagine Jesus has a pretty cool Tonka truck collection in Heaven