The Cat in the Hat
March 13, 2011
We are told that Theodor Geisel, Dr. Seuss, wrote the Cat in the Hat in response to an article published in Life magazine in May of 1954. The article written by John Hersey was critical of school primers, in the article which was ten pages long Hersey wrote “In the classroom boys and girls are confronted with six books that have insipid illustrations depicting the slicked-up lives of other children. [Existing primers] feature abnormally courteous, unnaturally clean boys and girls. . . .” Of course those were the Dick and Jane books.
A friend of Seuss’, publisher William Ellsworth Spaulding, challenged Suess to “Write me a story that first-graders can’t put down!” He gave Seuss a list of 348 words that every six year old should know and insisted the book should use no more than 225 of those word.
The Cat in the Hat uses 223 of the words that appeared on the list and 13 words that didn’t. Seuss wanted the title to rhyme and Cat and Hat were the first two words on the list that rhymed and worked as a title.
The story is 1629 words long and uses 236 different words. For those who are interested there is only one three syllable word, – “another” –14 words which have two syllables and the 221 remaining words are monosyllabic. The longest words in the book are “something” and “playthings”.
It comes from the passage of scripture that was read earlier and it is found at the very end of 1 Timothy 6:11-12 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.
Three pieces of advice for Timothy to follow, three pieces of advice for Denn to follow, three pieces of advice for you to follow, if you are indeed a Christ follower, and probably not bad advice if you aren’t a Christ Follower.
So Paul begins his closing The closing words of his letter with this advice for Timothy, 1 Timothy 6:11-12 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things.. .
Kind of a common theme that is running through there.
Another way to look at is that you need to avoid the opportunity for sin. If we go back to our book for a moment, there really wasn’t opportunity for Sally and her brother to run from the cat but at no point in the story did they actually tell him to leave.
This isn’t rocket surgery people. If you have a problem with gambling you don’t go down to watch the folks feed the VLTs, you don’t wander through the casino just to kill time. If you have a problem with lust you don’t watch certain programs or go to certain movies, if you struggle with alcohol you don’t hang out in the bars or keep a bottle around just in case.
Paul doesn’t tell Timothy to walk away from evil, or to saunter away from evil or to stroll away from evil. Instead he yells, Run away, run away. Don’t mess with it, don’t play with it, just walk away from it.
You say “Don’t worry Denn, I have everything under control.” Sure, famous last words, I think Custer said the same thing. Listen up, write it down, engrave it on your forehead, I don’t care what you do to remember it but remember it. 1 Timothy 6:11 But you, __________, are a person of God; so run from all these evil things… And I shouldn’t have to give you a list of what evil things Paul is talking about, E V I L Things, evil things. Things that you should not be messing with, things you shouldn’t be looking at, things you shouldn’t be thinking
While that is a rhetorical question and isn’t meant to be answered, the correct answer is “No you dummy.” You don’t stick your hand into the fire and pray that you won’t be burned, you keep your hand out of the fire and pray for enough sense to not put it in.
I’ve told you before, I am telling you now and I will tell you again. “Sin will always take you further then you want to go. Sin will always keep you longer then you want to stay and sin will always cost you more then you want to pay.” Run Away, Run Away.
But we can’t spend our lives running so Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:11-12 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. In other translations it reads “Follow what is right and good”
You ever hear the old adage “Idle hands are the Devil’s hands”? The easiest way to stay away from what is evil is to immerse yourself in what is good. That’s the concept that Paul is teaching to Timothy, the concept that we need to learn as well. So, if you commit yourself to following what is right and good. To pursue a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. How much time are you going to have for evil?
Focus on the good. Read good books, watch good movies, listen to good music, think good thoughts. But Denn, don’t but Denn me. A number of years ago a survey showed that the majority of Americans thought that there was too much sex and violence on Television, at the same time the two highest rated shows were CSI and Desperate House Wives. You scoop fire into your lap you will get burned.
For just a minute think about what you have watched, read and listened to this week, how does it stack up? And I know that you can’t isolate yourself completely from the world. But if you were able to weigh on a scale the amount of garbage that you subject yourself to on a daily basis and then on the other side you placed the good stuff, the stuff that is right and good that you take in. Which way would the scale tip?
The scriptures are full of the things you should be doing, and as we’ve often noted if you spend all your time doing the dos, you won’t have time to do the don’ts. The slide that’s been up on the screen a couple of times this morning makes some suggestions about what our thought life should look like, did you catch it when it was up? True, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy think about these things. What do you think? A pretty good description about what goes on between your ears? It should be.
Instead of focusing on what you are supposed to avoid, what you are supposed to run from set your eyes on what you are supposed to follow. Those things that are right and good, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.
And all the kids in the story had to do was follow the advice of the fish. Time and time again he warned them. God doesn’t leave us alone, instead he provides us with his word and His Spirit. But we can choice to listen to God’s direction or ignore God’s direction.
3) There are Times You Should fight. Do you know there are people out there who don’t believe what you believe? There are people out there who will actually mock our beliefs. That’s a given, Jesus told us it would happen, Paul told us it would happen, Peter told us it would happen, James told us it would happen. We’d be foolish if we thought we would be immune.
And when we are confronted by people and situations like that we have a couple of options. Actually there are at least three options and we’ve looked at a couple of them so far. We can flee from them, just walk away. We can follow them and decide that maybe they are right and we are wrong, or we can fight.
But who or what are we supposed to fight? The last major fight that the church seemed to be involved in was the same sex marriage issue. But we can see in the news from time to time how the church fights to keep prayer in school and the Ten Commandments in public buildings in the States and Christ in school Christmas presentations.
Is that what Paul was talking about when he said to fight the good fight? Was he telling us to fight for what we believe in so that our society will be a “Christian society”? I’m not so sure?
I mean when the Taliban tries to enforce their view of Islam in Afghanistan we say it’s a bad thing. And we can’t understand why secular countries throughout the Middle East enforce Sharia law.
If one of Paul’s goals was to fight to change society the early church did a dismal job and Jesus did a worse job. The only way the early church tried to make society better was by making individual people better. And if we look at history we discover that society changes when people change, not the other way around.
And so if this is not about fighting the big fight, you know the fight to keep society intact and the institution of marriage safe what are we supposed to be fighting? Here are more of Paul’s words to Timothy, 1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles.
Again with the fighting, but what are the Lord’s battles? Paul answers that in the next verse, 1 Timothy 1:19 Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.
The fight we are supposed to be fighting is the fight against evil in our own lives. We are supposed to be fighting against temptation and sin. We are supposed to be fighting to maintain our moral purity and integrity. Not out there but in here, and it is a fight. You see the fight isn’t to keep trash off of television; the fight is to not watch the trash on television. The fight isn’t to protect marriage; the fight is to protect our marriages.
If Satan’s not picking on you maybe it’s because he doesn’t think you are worth picking on because you’re not doing anything for the kingdom. And if you think maintaining a strong and vital relationship with God isn’t a struggle then maybe that’s because you’re not doing it.
And we need to be taking a stand and saying this is what the church is supposed to believe in. It’s amazing that we will criticize the liberal churches publicly about their stand in favour of same sex marriages or abortion but we never publicly denounce them for denying the deity of Christ, or the virgin birth or the resurrection. Those are things worth fighting about and taking a stand for.
So this week what are the things you are going to run from? What are the things that you are going to embrace and follow and what are the things you will be willing to fight for?
So let’s go back to a scripture that we looked at earlier, because this is your promise for today and for tomorrow.
1 Corinthians 10:13The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
No let’s personalize it and make it our own, read this with me this morning.
1 Corinthians 10:13The temptations in my life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than I can stand. When I am tempted, he will show me a way out so that I can endure.