Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) is a curious character indeed. You see, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, is about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards. Imagine finding a baby on your doorstep who looks like an eighty year old man. Creepy, huh? This odd time travel tale is strange indeed.
As the eccentric character of Benjamin Button gets younger with each passing year, everyone around him gets older. When you’re aging in the opposite direction of everyone else, it creates some very strange relational dynamics. But these unusual dynamics force Benjamin to explore on a deeper level what joy and loss and life and death are really all about.
At one point or another in our lives, most of us have stopped to wonder, “How do I get the most out of life in the time that I’ve been given?”
It will come as no surprise that the world is telling us the answer to this question goes something like this: “It’s all about you, so go for whatever gives you the most pleasure, power and possessions.” That self-absorbed approach to life drives many of our decisions – whether we want to admit it or not – including decisions like who we want for friends, where we go to college, who to date, and what we want to do with their lives.
Jesus, however, has a very different way of answering that question. His radical and revolutionary words turn the world’s message upside down and backwards. In Mark 8:35 He tells us, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.“
The Bible tells us that life is all about bringing glory to God in everything we do – our thoughts, words, and actions. We do that by surrendering our lives to Him and His purposes. Romans 12:1-2 in the Message puts it beautifully:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
God calls us to worship Him and become more like Jesus by offering our lives to Him. We do that by loving Him, serving Him, and telling others about Him. And as you strive to live a life more fully surrendered to Him, He will guide your path and help you figure out His specific call on your life when it comes to things like friends, college, careers and dating.
So whether you’ve seen the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or not, look for opportunities to talk with your friends about what life’s really all about and move the conversation toward God-talk. Try some of these kinds of questions:
- Are you intrigued by time travel?
- Have you ever wanted to make time stand still?
- Would you rather travel forward or backward in time?
- If you could travel back in time, would you be interested to see what it was like to be a follower of Jesus while He was alive on earth? Why or why not?
- Can you think of any advantages to ‘aging backward’?
- How would you answer the question “How do I get the most out of life in the time that I’ve been given”?
- How do you go about making big decisions in life? Is there a spiritual dimension to your decisions?
- Do you think God cares what you do with your life? Listen, then share the Good News of Jesus’ free gift of salvation and a restored relationship with God. Share how that truth has impacted your life and your decisions.
Aging backward is one of those upside down, crazy things that can bend your mind. But it would definitely give you a curiously fresh perspective on life. The truth of the gospel message can have the same effect on people. Share it with others!
A man, like any of us, unable to stop time. We follow his story set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the 21st century, following his journey that is as unusual as any man’s life can be. Directed by David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is a time traveler’s tale of the people and places he bumps into along the way, the loves he loses and finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time.
Jane Dratz serves as Editor for Dare 2 Share Ministries International (D2S) in Arvada, Colorado, a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teenagers to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information about D2S, please visit www.dare2share.org.