I’m a sucker for a sappy commercial, but a couple of days ago, I saw one that went over the top. I cried like a baby. I’m not talking about a stray tear or two. I’m talking about being so choked up I couldn’t even speak. And every time I thought about the stupid commercial, I teared up again. Good grief!
It was a commercial for a pet supply store and was done in a claymation effect. It portrayed a little boy standing at a store window and staring at the red bicycle within. He goes home, tapes a picture of the bike on an empty jar and starts earning money by shoveling driveways. Day after day, he goes out into the blustery weather until finally, the jar is nearly full.
On his way home one afternoon, the boy notices a dozen or more puppies in the window of the pet shop. One of the puppies wakes up and walks to the window, and the boy immediately notices the puppy is missing one of its back legs. The dog holds its from paw up to the window, and the boy presses his hand against the glass. (I’ll go ahead and tell you the tears began to flow a little at this point, but I held it together. . .mostly.)
In the next scene, it’s Christmas morning, and the young boy goes downstairs to discover the red bicycle under the tree. Realizing he didn’t have to spend all the money he earned, he (along with his parents, of course) return to the pet store and purchase the dog he had befriended. Unsurprisingly, the wounded puppy was the only one left.
As the boy rides his new bicycle with glee, he realizes his puppy can’t keep up with him, which saddens them both. In the next scene, we see the parents coming down the stairs to find a pile of bicycle parts on the floor. They peer out the window and discover their son had used the pieces from his new bicycle to create a cart that acted as the dog’s back legs. The boy ran and laughed as the dog happily chased him around the yard. (And that, people, is when the floodgates burst open. Shoot, I’m crying right now. What is wrong with me?)
Although I now hate the commercial for making me feel like an emotional basket-case, I love the meaning it portrays. The boy had his eyes set on the thing he thought would make him happy. He longed for it. He worked for it. He dreamed about it. But somewhere along the way, he realized it wasn’t the most important thing after all. And, in the end, he gave it up because he determined the bicycle was not what he needed most. He needed a friend, and he found one.
You know, we can be just like that young boy. We set our eyes (and our hearts) on things we think will make us happy, but in the end, they never satisfy. We always need more. Sometimes the things we work so hard for turn out not to be as great as we expected. What we need is to have the same realization that sweet boy had—that our dreams and desires are not the most important things in life. Sure, we can buy a lot of nice things to fill our homes, but they will never fill the void in our lives. We can work long hours to climb the corporate ladder, but at the end of the day, who cares? We think we need so much, but what we really need is a Friend. Someone who loves us despite our grand mistakes. Someone who won’t leave when the going gets tough. Someone with whom we can be ourselves instead of putting on a disguise. Someone who will fill the void and restore peace and happiness in our lives. No one and nothing can do what He does or take His place.
God is God. There is none like Him. There is nothing that could ever compare. And there is a longing in our heart only He can fill. Don’t settle for the red bicycle. God wants to offer you so much more. He wants to be your Friend, and when you have a Friend like Jesus, you don’t need anything else!