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Jesus Wants Your Tonka Truck - The Crosswalk Devotional - June 9

The Crosswalk Devotional

Jesus Wants Your Tonka Truck
By Kyle Norman

“While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him, and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him.”  (Luke 15:20)

When I was five, I tried to run away from home. I forget what offended me at the time. I gathered my treasured possession, put on my shoes and jacket, and opened the front door. With my bright, yellow, metal, Tonka truck in my arms, I declared to my father that I was running away and that he would not see me again. 

As I walked down our driveway, I heard the door slam behind me. Instantly I was worried that I had been cast out, shunned by the parent I had had just defied. Yet as I looked behind me, I saw that my father had put on his shoes and jacket and had begun to follow me down the laneway. He said nothing to me; he simply followed along as I tried to run away from him.

I had probably gone no farther than a couple of blocks when my Tonka truck began to weigh heavy upon my tiny arms. I turned to my father and asked, “can you carry this for me?” My father responded firmly, yet lovingly, “not if you are running away,” he said. Even at five years old I couldn’t fault his logic. So, I kept walking, each step getting harder and harder. My arms hurt; my legs hurt. Running away wasn’t’ the delight I had thought it would be. In fact, I felt more weighed down, more trapped, than I had while under in my father’s house. 

Running away from the Lord never works out the way we want. The spiritual baggage we hold has nowhere to go. It digs into us, weighs us down, and saps our strength. The very things we believed would bring us freedom and independence becomes heavily laden keeping us bound. 

Jesus tells a parable about this very thing. An impetuous son demands his inheritance from his father. He wants to break free from his father’s rules; he wishes to be his own man and make his own decisions. As if his demand wasn’t enough, the son then sells off his birthright and leaves his family. He takes his Tonka Truck and runs away to a distant land. Of course, things don’t work out as he had hoped. His freedom quickly became his slavery. His riches turned into emptiness. And as he longed for home, he feared he would never be welcome. The son believed that the father he rejected would reject him. After all, he had done too much and gone too far.

Do you feel this way today? Are you struggling with a weight that you do not want to carry?   

Eventually, my Tonka Truck burden became far too much for me to handle. I swallowed my five-year-old pride, turned to my father, and confessed: “I want to go home.” My father wasn’t angry. He wasn’t vengeful. The words “I told you so”, or “how could you” were never found on his lips. Upon my repentance, he smiled. “Good”, he replied. He then took the Tonka truck from me, held my hand, and led me home.

The father in Jesus’ parable does the same. Jesus describes the father as continually looking out for his son. Each new day was met with the hope that the son would return. And when that day finally came, the father picked up his robes and ran to meet him. Symbols of redemption and sonship were placed on the wayward child, as the father rejoiced in his presence. 

Intersecting Faith and Life:
Forgiveness is a reality upon which we can be assured. Jesus tells this parable to describe how he is waiting to receive us. Jesus treats our waywardness in love and grace, not in anger or punishment. Jesus delights in our presence and longs for us to return to him. Nothing we have done will cause him to reject us, and there is no distance we can run for which he will not be with us. This is the good news.

So, if you feel lost and alone, or if you feel exhausted from carrying your burdens, simply turn around and face your Lord. Even though you ran from him, Jesus has never left you. He has been with you each step of your life. Furthermore, the Lord is infinite in mercy and resolute in compassion. Like the father in the parable, Jesus promises to throw his arms around you, kiss your wounds with healing, and lead you home. Don’t you think it’s about time?

Further reading:

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/goodmoments

SWN authorThe Reverend Dr. Kyle Norman is the Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral, located in Kamloops BC, Canada.  He holds a doctorate in Spiritual formation and is a sought-after writer, speaker, and retreat leader. His writing can be found at,, Renovare Canada, and many others.  He also maintains his own blog  He has 20 years of pastoral experience, and his ministry focuses on helping people overcome times of spiritual discouragement.

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