Summary: When we think of Charlie Brown we usually think of defeat or failure. This message looks to Job for answers to Charlie Brown's life.
When I think of Charlie Brown one of two images immediately comes to mind. And maybe it’s the same with you. It’s either the scene of Charlie Brown staring forlornly into the tree that has once again eaten his kite or it’s Charlie Brown lying flat on his back after Lucy has pulled the football away at the very last minute as Charlie has attempted to kick it.
And I would suspect that whatever image you have of Charlie Brown it has something to do with defeat or failure. Perhaps as he stares at the Christmas tree that he has brought to the pageant, the one everyone laughs at. Or maybe it’s the futile crush he has on the Little Red Headed Girl, and she doesn’t even know he exists. Or perhaps it’s the sight of Charlie Brown standing in the rain all by himself on the ball diamond.
Charlie Brown’s creator Charles Schulz wrote “Charlie Brown must be the one who suffers, because he’s a caricature of the average person. Most of us are much more acquainted with losing than winning. Winning is great, but it isn’t funny.”
Here are some highlights from Charlie Brown’s life. (Video Clip)
Schulz was asked if, for his final Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown would finally get to kick that football after almost fifty years of trying. His response: “Oh, no! Definitely not! I couldn’t have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century.” Yet, in a December 1999 interview, holding back tears, he recounted the moment when he signed the panel of his final strip, saying, “All of a sudden I thought, ‘You know, that poor, poor kid, he never even got to kick the football. What a dirty trick — he never had a chance to kick the football!’”
In the Old Testament there is an entire book written about a man who made Charlie Brown’s life look like a walk in the park, pulled out football and everything. His name was Job and the book is found in the Old Testament. If you have your bible with you then you can find it by going to the middle of your Bible which should be Psalms or Proverbs and then turning toward the front.
Schulz even gives a nod to the book of Job in the Peanuts cartoon.
(Charlie Brown: Nine home runs in a row! Good grief! What can I do. We’re getting slaughtered again, Schroeder. . . I don’t know what to do. Why do we have to suffer like this?
Schroeder: ”Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.”
Charlie Brown: What?
Linus: He’s quoting from the Book of Job, Charlie Brown, seventh verse, fifth chapter. Actually, the problem of suffering is a very profound one, and . . .
Lucy: If a person has had bad luck, it’s because he’s doing something wrong, that’s what I always say!
Schroeder: That’s what Job’s friends told him. But I doubt it. . .
Lucy: What about Job’s wife? I don’t think she gets enough credit!
Schroeder: I think a person who never suffers, never matures. Suffering is actually very important.
Lucy: Who wants to suffer? Don’t be ridiculous!
Schroeder: But pain is a part of life, and. .
Linus: A person who speaks only of the “patience” of Job reveals that he knows very little of the book! Now, the way I see it. . .
Charlie Brown: Good grief! I don’t have a ball team. I have a theological seminary!)
Job was the righteous man’s poster boy, the Bible tells us that He was blameless, a man of complete integrity, who feared God and stayed away from Evil. And just to top it off we are told that he was the richest man in the area. But these aren’t the things that made Job famous, and we’ve all heard of Job, even if you don’t know the story of Job you probably have heard the expression, “The patience of Job” an expression that was most often used in reference to my Mother’s dealing with her youngest son.
But you have to know the story to understand the reference. Now the first part of the story is a little confusing, I don’t understand it, and really can’t explain it. It would appear that one day the angels appeared before God reporting on what they had done and Satan shows up. During the ensuing conversation God questions Satan on his activities and Satan responds by saying Job 1:7 . . . “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”
And at that point God draws Satan’s attention to his servant Job and how righteous he is, and Satan says “sure, and why wouldn’t he serve you? You have always protected him, and his property. Everything he touches turns to gold, take away his possessions and I can guarantee that he will curse you.”