This evening, our family watched UP together for the second time. There are so many aspects that are so special about this movie, from the love of husband and wife, to the loyalty of my favorite character, Dug. Last time I watched this movie, I simply enjoyed its simplicity and cheerfulness, but this time I began to notice something that can be considered in light of our own lives (and since this is Shelby writing after all, you can assume that I’m headed for a spiritual parallel!).
In case you've never seen this movie, the basic storyline goes like this: an old man, Mr. Fredrickson, and his wife Ellie had always wanted to be explorers and take their house to “Paradise Falls,” to live together and have adventures. After Ellie passes away, Mr. Fredrickson decides to “float” his house to South America with helium balloons and accidentally brings along Russell, a 7-year-old boy scout trying to get his “assisting the elderly” badge. On their adventure they encounter many other interesting friends such as Kevin, a rare female bird, and Dug, a loyal golden retriever (see my favorite scene of Dug here). That’s the best wrap-up I can give, I recommend watching the movie if you want to understand what I’m talking about from now on. And I’m going to end up giving away the ending, so please don’t read this if you haven’t watched it yet!
While watching the film I began to see the real meaning of the plot. Even beyond the importance of keeping your promises and not letting your friends down, the characters in the story (particularly Mr. Fredrickson) must ultimately make a decision about what is the most important part of their life; they must learn to give up what they want in exchange for what it truly important. At the end of the movie, Mr. Fredrickson gives up chasing after his floating house after he rescues Russell, Kevin, and Dug because he realizes that his own goals and ambitions are not the greatest thing anymore; instead, he knows he needs to give up his dreams for his home and pour himself into being a father figure to Russell. In other words, he eventually realizes that it is more important for him to show love to others than to have what he has always wished for.
Now, that, in regards to our spiritual lives, is profound indeed. Think about it. When you find a cause that is more important than any other, our own goals and dreams can’t stand in the way of that. If our personal plans are exclusive to our real mission, we have to give up our plans. Jesus is our real purpose, our real mission, the greatest cause in the universe. But we can’t just claim to be doing His work when we’re still holding on to our personal goals. We can’t serve two masters, whether that second master is money, or ourselves.
Why did Mr. Fredrickson let go of his house? He knew that if he was constantly holding onto it with one hand, he couldn’t fulfill his real purpose with both hands. It’s the same with us. If we’re still holding on to whatever ambitions we have for ourselves that are not of God, we can’t be doing all that He wants us to do. And which is worth more? Mr. Fredrickson chose between an old, empty house and a young boy needing love. We have to choose between an empty self that can only accomplish temporary achievements and a loving Savior whose plans will last forever.
The most poignant moment in the movie for me happened as Mr. Fredrickson watched his house float away, realizing he could never get it back. Russell walks up and says quietly, “Sorry about your house, Mr. Fredrickson.” And he quietly replies with a smile, “It’s just a house.”
What are you holding on to? Be it a house, a car, a relationship, a goal, a dream, if Jesus has better plans in store, all I can say to him is, “It’s just my plan. It won’t last long anyway. I want You. For You, I will give it up.”