We all search for a friend at times. Young children need friends from the stuffed animals surrounding their bed to the strangers they boldly say hello to in stores and restaurants. God created us with a desire for relationships. We were created in His image and He desires a relationship with us too. It is through our searching for a friend, that Christ finds us. A great book that I believe illustrates our searching and God’s finding is Corduroy by Don Freeman.
A bear named Corduroy searches for a friend.
Long before there was Toy Story, there was a bear named Corduroy. This children’s book written by Don Freeman was first published in 1968. I can actually remember reading it as a child. In the story, a little stuffed bear sits on a shelf with other toys. The book explains that the bear waited day after day for somebody to come along and take it home. No one ever seemed to want this little stuffed animal. Eventually, a young girl named Lisa comes into the store and looks straight into Corduroy’s eyes. She asked her mom if she could buy him and her mom said she cannot. The reasons are that they’ve already spent too much money and that the little bear does not look new. It is missing a button on its overall strap.
A search for a button
Corduroy never knew his button was missing until Lisa’s mother pointed it out. Just as we do not always see our faults until someone else points them out. Corduroy believed that having a button would make him worthy of Lisa’s love. Therefore, he set out to search for his missing button. Likewise, we often feel we need to do things to earn God’s favor as well.
As Corduroy searched through the department store that night, he discovers things about himself and is able to experience things he has always wanted to do. For example, as he stumbles onto an escalator, he thinks he is on a mountain and decides he has always wanted to climb a mountain. Then at the top, he sees furniture and thinks he is in a palace. He has always wanted to live in a palace. Corduroy is similar to Little Pot because he believes each new experience will bring him happiness.
Eventually, he does find a button attached to a mattress and tries to pull it off. As he tries to remove it, he knocks over a lamp. He is then found by a security guard. The guard returns him to the toy shelf without his missing button. Corduroy is right back where he started. I don’t know about you, but whenever I try to do things on my own without God, I usually end up right where I started as well.
A search for a friend that rescues and saves.
The next morning, as Corduroy awakes he sees Lisa, the same girl from the day before. Her search for a friend included going home and collecting money from her piggy bank to buy the little bear. She had paid the price to make Corduroy her own and to take him home. At Lisa’s home Corduroy gains the two things that he knows he has always wanted: a home and a friend.
Jesus has done the same thing for us. First, he paid for us. His death on the cross was the cost that was required. It forgave us of our sins. He paid that price so that we could be welcomed into His family, be His friend, and have a home with Him.
Lisa also gives Corduroy a new button. Although, she tells Corduroy that she likes him just the way he is. She sews a button on his overalls to make him more comfortable. God loves us just the way we are too. However, He provides the things we need as well. Buttons and all.
Our search for a friend leads us to Jesus.
Don Freeman never intended this story to be a vessel that would tell the gospel. I was even told once that he was an atheist. I am not sure if that is true, but I think it is wonderful to know that God’s story exists within all stories. Sometimes we are being vessels to grow His fruit without ever trying.
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