Devotion in Motion: Worth the Risk

26 ¶ Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” ~ Genesis 1:26  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”


The toys that kids play with now aren’t nearly as cool as the ones I grew up with. There’s an important reason for this. All the toys I loved so much as a child have been banned and removed from the market by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. They’ve been deemed as just too darn dangerous for kids to play with.

My favorite childhood toy was my Creepy Crawler machine, made by Mattel. Every kid on my block had one. My grandmother bought me one when I was 5-years-old, before I ever started school. It was tremendous fun because you could use it to make all sorts of plastic toys. (They were sort of like the jiggley plastic worms that your father takes fishing.) It was the coolest toy ever made.

The Creepy Crawler machine (also known as a “Thingmaker”) was also the most dangerous toy every designed. You filled little stainless steel molds with various colors of  a thick, petroleum-based liquid. The fluid was known as “Plasti-Goop,” and it gave off a noxious odor when it was heated. (My mother made me play with my set on the back porch so our house didn’t smell like a paper mill.) You had to be careful not to spill the Plasti-Goop on anything, like the styrofoam box that the Thingmaker came in. Plasti-Goop ate right through Styrofoam. No joke.

The Thingmaker had a little square electric burner — just like the “hot plate” you may have used to boil water on in your dorm room. It heated up to probably about 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. It had no safety features whatsoever. You could plug the thing in and then lay your whole hand on the 4-inch by 4-inch heated surface that got as hot as a blast furnace. But, of course, you weren’t supposed to put your hand on it. You were supposed to put the goop-filled stainless steel molds on it. This was so that they, too, could become as hot as a melting-down-nuclear-reactor.

After the Plasti-Goop had cured (and before the mold began to give off acrid smoke) you had to attach a rickety handle to the mold and snatch it off the burner. You then plunged the fiery metal form into a small plastic tray filled with water. As the steam rose toward the ceiling, it made the same sizzling sound as when a blacksmith dips a molten horseshoe into a watering trough.

Did we ever get burned while playing with the Thingmaker? Of course we did. But back then, if we told our parents that we’d burned a finger on the Creepy Crawler machine, they all said the same thing: “Well, that thing gets really hot. You have to be careful with it and watch what you’re doing.” But for the most part, I don’t think we even told our parents if we burned our fingers. We were having too much fun making Creepy Crawlers.

And I don’t remember ever hearing about a lawsuit being filed against Mattel for the dangers involved with using a Thingmaker. Back then, people accepted more responsibility for their actions without blaming others. Parents and children alike could take one look at the situation and see that this toy was full of things that you wouldn’t want to dump in your lap. It involved a large element of risk — but it was risk that could be managed if you acted with care. We were having a wonderful time making Creepy Crawlers. We believed it was worth the risk. Back then, we recognized that you can’t have anything that’s worthwhile and joyful without dealing with risk.

Did you ever think about the risk our Heavenly Father took when he gave “free will” to the humans He created? Because we are free moral agents, we can make our own choices. We can choose to love God and obey Him, or we can choose to hate Him and reject Him. In giving mankind freedom, the Lord created creatures that could turn against Him.

Why did He take this enormous risk? I think it’s because true love can only exist where there is freedom. And that’s why love is such a beautiful virtue. Somebody met you, they had a choice to make — and they decided to love you. It’s wonderful when someone makes that choice. And because God has given us the ability to choose, some will recognize His worthiness and choose to love Him. That’s His ultimate plan in time and eternity. God is populating a kingdom with those who have chosen to love Him.

God loves you with an abiding and everlasting love. Will you choose to love God this week and to show it by the way you live? He’s worthy of the risk.



Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 20) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher also once owned a set of Giant Lawn Darts when he was a little boy. ) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to