It’s been a year now since my family and I moved to Worthington. A key aspect of getting to know a new place is finding out who people are. In learning about Minnesota before we came, we read quite a bit about a couple named Ole and Lena, so we’re excited to find out exactly who they are. We haven’t met them yet, but I think we’ve met some of their relatives.
Sometimes knowing who somebody is doesn’t make sense unless you also know what they are. Such is the case with Paycheck. Just knowing that he (or she, or it?) is the face representing Worthington across the nation doesn’t quite make sense until you also know that he’s a turkey who races for us in the Great Gobbler Gallop to take home the Traveling Turkey Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph each year (except, of course, this year). By the way, if you need to ask why we race turkeys, you probably won’t fit in here. This is more of a ‘why not’ kind of situation.
Many people need to get to know God. Maybe you’ve heard what other people have said about him, but that can be about as accurate as projecting an image of what Worthington is like based only on Ole and Lena jokes. Instead, you need to go to the source. Just like a person needs to visit the shimmering waters of Lake Okabena to truly appreciate Worthington, to truly know God, you need to go to the source: read his Word.
Believe it or not, God and Paycheck have something in common: You can’t really know who he is until you understand what he is.
God is fundamentally different from the creatures he’s made. Creatures have attributes, but they only reflect those attributes. For example, Ole and Lena are Minnesotans, but they don’t really define what a Minnesotan is, they only reflect a small aspect of it. Paycheck is certainly the finest turkey there is, but he only reflects turkeyness, he doesn’t define it. We can be loving, good and just, but that doesn’t mean we define love, goodness or justice.
God shares some of those attributes with us, in addition to attributes which are unique to him, but he does so in a much different way. God is not only loving, but he is love — he is the essence of it. God is not just good, but he’s the overflowing fountain of everything good. His actions are not only just, justice itself exists because he exists. This is why the primary name God gave himself doesn’t just tell us who he is, it also tells us what he is: I AM WHO I AM (Exodus 3:14).
As time goes on, living in America will feel like living in a new town in which you need to get to know everything over again. Morals, customs and norms will be far different than what you may be used to. Take it from Ole: to stay grounded in truth, “ya hafta spend da time gettin to know bof who and vat God is.” Don’t just take other people’s word for it, find out for yourself by reading his Word every day.
Chad Werkhoven is pastor at Worthington Christian Reformed Church.