Lessons from Toby Tyler
One of my cats is named Toby Tyler. About a week after he was born, Toby’s mother was hit by a car, and the kittens became orphans. His eyes weren’t even open when we first saw him at the animal shelter. After waiting the requisite time, we were able to bring Toby home to join our family.
Toby is loaded with personality and completely egocentric. When he jumps onto the bed, Toby strictly walks on, rather than around, you. As he crosses the room, he sideswipes his older brother’s face, making sure Chester is clear about who’s boss. When chased, Toby will leap into the dining room chair; he has invoked a rule that the chair is no-man’s-land, to which Chester has inexplicably agreed. Chester walks dejectedly away, as if to say, “Foiled again.”
Every day when my husband gets home from work, Toby shifts into “crazy mode.” He zooms around the house at full speed, stopping periodically to howl. I’m convinced that he’s showing off for his “daddy.” God gave Toby Tyler a double dose of personality. He’s a little powerhouse.
Now there’s another side to Toby that is not so tough. He has never—in 11 years—given up the need to nurse. The loss of his mama at such a young age has had a permanent effect on him. Everyday, when I sit down with my laptop, Toby crawls into my lap and starts sucking on my fingers. I type (and correct, retype, and bring up unwanted pages) with that precious boy often kneading the keyboard. It’s a challenge.
My husband says that I should break him of the habit, but the word “No” is not in Toby’s vocabulary, and he has a hard little head. When put down, he hops right back up. I don’t mind; I find it endearing that such a tough little boy is so vulnerable.
If Toby Tyler were human, my reaction would be quite different. It would not be adorable for an 11-year-old child to continue behaving as an infant. There comes a time when we all need to grow up.
The same truth is also applicable to Christians. Hebrews 5:12-14 (NASB) says, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
Hearing the gospel message never gets old, but let’s dig deeper into the Scripture to learn how to live out our salvation. Milk is vital, but let’s add in solid food.
Oh, how I love my Toby Tyler. But let’s not emulate him.