Color By Numbers

Arts and Crafts time with the kids.  Doesn’t that sound so dreamy and adventurous?  Especially if you replace “and” with “n”.  Arts ‘n Crafts.  There, now we’re talking F-U-N.  A time for children to make a complete and utter mess on themselves, the furniture, and the rug at the same time.   A time to do math problems.  

3 young kids + 25 art supplies + 1 rug = 4 Advil.

The problem is some guy named Elmer had to come to the party and introduce glue.  Let me tell you something, Elmer did not have children.  Elmer was alone in his closet with his airplane models and needed a way to stick them together.  His distant cousin introduced glue sticks, which are not as messy but not effective, thereby multiplying the whining factor by a thousand.  That family can probably be traced to the invention of glitter, paint, markers, and any art supply that drives parents crazy.

Then along came washable markers.  Could it be more obvious that a parent invented these?  They might as well have called them Markers for Moms Who Are Tired Of Having Their Walls And Furniture Colored.  But that didn’t fit on the pens.

Coloring with crayons always seemed to be the only safe art activity.  Or so I thought.

When our daughter Grace was two, she thought it would be fun to dump all of her crayons into the radiator. While the heat was on, of course. The colorful, oozing goo looked worthy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Recently our son Nate hid crayons in his sheets, which made interesting patterns on our white guest sheets, which I had  decided to include in the load.

The other day I introduced our son Luke to his first Color By Numbers paper.  As I explained the process to him, the whole thing sounded sketchy.  Rules for coloring a picture.  Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of creativity and expression?  Besides, nothing thrills a five-year old boy like being told exactly what to do and how to do it.  It didn’t take long for him to start whining and complaining. 

In the end, though, he was amazed at how beautiful his picture looked.  I was reminded that when you follow the instructions of a Color By Numbers, your completed picture is guaranteed to look wonderful. 

In general people don’t enjoy being told what to do, but sometimes we need rules just to get out of bed in the morning.  Do not throw alarm clock across room.

Look what happened in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve chose not to follow the rules.  God had given them the perfect Color By Numbers.  Anything from a tree numbered One was acceptable to eat.  They were told not to eat from tree number Two.  By not following instructions, their picture-perfect Paradise ended up with flaming swords and eventual destruction.  The kind of picture a parent looks at and pretends to have the first clue what it’s supposed to be.

When we try to establish our own perfect picture, we can only fail.

Hebrews 10:11

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

God doesn’t want religion, but he does expect obedience. 

1 John 5: 3

This is love for God:  to obey his commands.

Obey is one four letter word that makes people squirm. Before you get bummed out about that verse, it continues…

(4) And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.

Overcoming the world. Have you seen the world lately?  Now that’s one ugly picture.  He made a way to escape.

1 John 3:23

And this is his command:  to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

We may use different crayons, and sometimes we may color outside of the lines a bit, but by following God’s perfect plan and coloring by His numbers, we can make a beautiful picture. 



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