Clang, clang, clang…the coins in Pepe’s piggy bank jingled as he walked carrying it around his neighborhood.
“Where can I bury all this money? I really don’t want to share it with other people,” Pepe thought to himself. “Once I empty these coins into a hole and cover it—ha-ha, like pirate’s treasure—I’ll have more space in my piggy bank to accumulate even more money, all for me…ha-ha!”
“Hey Pepe, what are you doing?” Bernice approached him, carrying a delicate glass angel figurine in her hands.
“Oh no,” Pepe said to himself. He didn’t want to be seen, but it was too late, Bernice was in front of him.
“Well…” Pepe didn’t know what to say, he didn’t want to disclose his purpose.
“Do you like my delicate and beautiful little glass angel?” She asked.
“Um…” Pepe started saying.
Bernice didn’t let him respond, “I’m frustrated though!” she complained. “It doesn’t respond to me! The other day I asked it to do something for me and it didn’t do anything, it was actually totally mute…imagine! And to think I treat it like royalty! But I really like it.”
“Hi, friends!” Tom suddenly showed up. “Do you like my new baseball bat?”
Bernice and Pepe turned towards Tom.
“I call it my good-luck baseball bat! It has such a personality! I have won two games with it. I should make a shrine to it at home. It’s so cool!” Tom’s voice was full of pride.
“What’s going on here?” Katie appeared. “I didn’t know we were getting together today.”
“We were not!” Pepe said sourly.
“By the way, do you like my little plant?” Katie showed them a pot with a plant she was carrying in her hands. “I talk to it every day. We share secrets. It gives me good energy, and it’s now my best friend since it’s always with me and listens to me.”
Strangely, the four friends started to feel uncomfortable. The tension hung in the air, and none of them could really look at each other. Tom started polishing his bat, Bernice rubbed her angel, and Katie was whispering to her plant that it was time to go. Suddenly there was a whoosh and the Three Musketeers made themselves visible to the kids.
“Whoa!” Jesus exclaimed. “What’s going on here? I feel a heaviness…”
“It seems that these kids have forgotten us,” The Father said slowly and sadly, and a tear ran down His cheek.
“Papa God, please don’t cry!” Katie became very sad.
“’Children, you must stay away from idols!’ [1 John 5:21],” The Holy Spirit quoted Scripture to them.
“Idols?” The four kids ask in unison.
Jesus looked at them with compassion and said, “Yes, idols or false gods. In other words, any image or thing that you worship or that you show devotion to but that is not the ‘only true and living God’ [Jeremiah 10:10].”
“But we don’t have false gods,” Pepe looked very confused.
“Well…let me see what we have here,” the Holy Spirit said patiently. “What about your greediness and love for money? Or, how about praying to a man-made glass angel… oh and by the way, ‘angels are merely spirits sent to serve people who are going to be saved’ [Hebrews 1:14].”
“No wonder this angel figurine was so quiet!” Bernice whined.
The Holy Spirit laughed at Bernice’s words, and as He warmed their hearts from the inside out, He continued, “What else…how about a baseball bat that’s made out of wood and can’t influence anything? Or a plant that’s nothing more than a beautiful plant created by God?”
“Yeah, I was wondering if I would really win every game just because of this baseball bat,” Tom felt ashamed.
“‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him!’ [Luke 4:8]” Jesus reminded them with a wink.
“Okay, I got it…the plant is just a plant, like a tree is just a tree,” Katie jumped in the conversation, “but how about venerating good people?”
“Great question, Katie!” the Father answered. “There are wonderful people out there that have done, or are currently doing, wonderful things (big and small) for us and for our Kingdom, and it’s great to admire them and they should be an inspiration to you all, but ‘don’t bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…’ [Exodus 20:5]. Yes, I demand all your love.”
The children’s hearts bowed with reverence towards God, and so did their heads. Suddenly their hearts seemed to leap within them!
“What was that?” Pepe asked looking at his chest.
“Yes!” said the other three children, “What was that?” They all too looked at their chests.
“Oh, that was me, working in each of your hearts to give you joy in adoring the Father and His words. So, you felt me?” The Holy Spirit smiled, and then, seeing He had the children’s attention, He added, “Don’t be like some people, ‘theyclaim to be wise, but they are fools. They don’t worship the glorious and eternal God. Instead, they worship idols that are made to look like humans, birds, animals, and reptiles’ [Romans 1: 22-23]… and many other things.”
“Things like what?” Bernice asked with a shy voice.
Jesus was happy that the kids were curious, “Well, other things such as those that become obsessions and turn into gods like material possessions, selfishness, your bodies, power, fame…”
“Oh Jesus, please wait a second,” Bernice jumped in, “so many things, I’m getting dizzy!”
“You’re so delicate!” Pepe was mean.
“Pepe, don’t talk like that,” Jesus said, “everyone is different and beautiful in our eyes.” Then He continued, “The point is that idols are anything that turns you away from us, your Three Musketeers!”
“Think about this, children,” the Holy Spirit intervened, “’The Lord God took a handful of soil and made a man. God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing’ [Genesis 2:7]. So, you all are created by us and in our image, no other creature from our creation has that honor! Also, you were created to live in communion with us, so if you detach from us and try to fill that emptiness with false gods or idols, you’ll never feel complete. You’ll feel that there’s something that’s missing and you’ll never, ever be content and have real peace.”
“Now I’m the one that feels dizzy and confused,” Pepe laughed and blushed.
The Three Musketeers lovingly smiled at the children, blew them a kiss, and disappeared from their view.
After a moment of awkward silence, Tom cheerfully said, “Got it! It’s not about religion, it’s about a personal relationship with ‘the true and living God!’ [1 Thessalonians 1:9]”
“Yeah,” Katie chimed in, “and He wants all our heart, just for Him only—and not just a little bit of it. Hey, we can talk to Him all the time! Our one-in-three and three-in-one God is always with us, and He loves us very much!”
“And God will bless us for our obedience and faithfulness!” The Holy Spirit inspired Bernice to say out loud.
“I wonder if God could help us see and get rid of our personal idols… I’m telling you, that would be hard to do!” Katie said, lost in her thoughts.
“Yes, we can! Just ask us for help!” The Holy Spirit whispered in their hearts.
“Well,” Pepe said with a sigh of relief, “who wants ice cream now? I think these coins I have here will buy some for each one of us.”
All the kids smile and started walking together towards the nearest convenience store.
Related Bible reading: Deuteronomy 32:39 Isaiah 57:13 Habakkuk 2:18-20 Psalm 40:4