|By Randy Crane|
J. Thaddeus Toad (Esq.) is “merrily on his way to nowhere in particular,” but in the process he gets himself in trouble. We can often relate. Let’s take a look at what makes this attraction unique, what gets Toad in trouble, and how it relates to our own lives in today's new article...
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride holds some interesting distinctions.
• It is an Opening Day attraction.
• It has a scene that doesn’t appear (or is even hinted at) in its source material.
• It is the only true “ride” at Disneyland. All of Disneyland’s rides, shows, parades, etc. are known as “attractions,” so when you’re looking for rides, “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” is the only such one.
As with the rest of Fantasyland’s dark rides, Mr. Toad was based on an animated feature, in this case, “The Wind in the Willows” segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. (Ichabod Crane gets his story represented in Liberty Square and the Halloween parade in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World). Released in 1949, it was the last of the “package films”—animated features consisting of two or more shorter “featurettes” but released as a single movie.
In it, Basil Rathbone narrates the story of J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq. (“Mr. Toad”), the happy-go-lucky, wealthy owner of Toad Hall. Mr. Toad believed in fun, adventure, and traveling to “Nowhere in Particular.” He had a fascination with fads and manias, and chased one after the other. Of course, that landed him in trouble.
I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you. For now, let’s focus on that initial description of Mr. Toad.
“Toad was the one disturbing element. Incurable adventurer, mad, reckless, tried everything. A positive mania for fads, and he never counted the cost,” says the narrator in his opening description. “He never counted the cost.” Interesting phrase. Luke 14 recounts Jesus telling two parables with the same idea.
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them He said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:25–33)
There is a cost to being a disciple, and anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
This passage is not easy to fully grasp, and digging in to examine every detail and getting a full understanding of this passage is not our purpose here. Even without that, there are some clear truths. There is a cost to following Jesus, and that cost could be everything we value.
But how valuable is what we may have to surrender? How valuable is our:
• good deeds (that come from ourselves)?
It’s easy to look at that list and balk. I’ll be honest; I do. We don’t want to give up those things. We wonder how a good God could even ask us to give them up. But I think that kind of thinking may have to do with how little we truly know and understand Christ. As long as we have those valuables, we can keep Him at a “safe” distance. It’s only when we lose them and have nothing or nobody to turn to but Him that we understand. The apostle Paul certainly did.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. (Philippians 3:7–9)
(By the way, the word “rubbish” is a bit of a euphemism. It’s much stronger than that—closer to “refuse” or “dung,” and…in the vernacular, well, you know.) Paul was in a prison cell when he wrote that, with the full knowledge that he was probably going to be executed. He really had lost everything. But losing everything was nothing compared with knowing Jesus Christ.
Mr. Toad never counted the cost, and he barreled recklessly through life. On a surface level, he had fun (most of the time––prison wasn’t so fun for him), but how much did he miss out on? What did he sacrifice?
When you first become a Christian, you won’t know everything. All you know is that you will be called to surrender, and that God is good. You may have no concept of what you may have to give up, but you also have no real grasp of how much you will gain––until you gain it!
Takeaway: Have you been called to give up something (physical or otherwise) as you have followed Jesus? Was it worth it?
Randy Crane is a highly-regarded speaker and author, presenting engaging and thought-provoking messages on a variety of topics. He has a natural rapport and connection with audiences that makes them relate well to him, engage in his presentations, and come away with a fresh understanding of the subject at hand. Randy is also the host of the “Stories of the Magic” unofficial Disney podcast, where he interviews people from throughout the Disney company, from front-line Cast Members to Legends. Randy grew up in the church, but—like many others—wandered away from the faith for a time in high school. Now, he is an ordained minister, with both a Bachelor’s degree in Church Ministry (emphasis in Preaching) and a Master’s degree in Congregational Leadership from Hope International University in Fullerton, CA. He has been preaching and teaching since 1998, and has been a drummer/percussionist on church worship teams since 1992. He married his wonderful wife Faye in November of 2000 and they are expecting their first child in April of 2015. Randy is the author of two books, Once Upon YOUR Time and Faith and the Magic Kingdom.
You can find all of Randy's articles here.