Growing up in the ‘90s and 2000s was truly an amazing time to be a kid. Animated films such as Toy Story, Aladdin, A Bug’s Life, Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Shrek, The Incredibles, Tarzan, Pocahontas, Mulan, and Rescuers Down Under (Did I leave any out?) dominated theatres and Blockbusters everywhere, and were, “coming soon to own on video and DVD.” Chief among these films was Disney’s, The Lion King, which combined truly life-changing quotes and an incredible plot, with an unforgettable soundtrack. These movies were so tremendously successful that they defined the culture of an entire generation. So much so, theaters are filling up more and more with their live-action remakes today because of the love they have for these movies.
John Favreau was given the monumental task of taking one of THE greatest animated films ever made, The Lion King, and making a new live-action remake. There are many opinions when it comes to Disney deciding to remake these classics. Regardless of what you may think about them, Disney continues to rake in the money, and most of those earnings will probably come from ME. Favreau’s remake made almost $700 million worldwide in the first three days of its release, and I am proud to say I contributed to that success. Yes, my wife and I saw The Lion King remake. From start to finish, I was transported back in time to when I was a kid watching the original on repeat. I was ALL IN after the first couple of seconds, when in the darkness, the booming speakers let out that legendary… “NAHHHHH SABAYNAA…” (Or correctly spelled ‘nants ingonyama’).
I LOVED IT in its entirety. It was definitely my favorite animated movie growing up and is by far my favorite remake. In both editions, my favorite scene and song from the whole movie is Timon and Pumbaa’s epic, “Hakuna Matata.” At this point in the film, your heart was just grabbed out of your chest with the death of Mufasa. Then Simba had run away from the Pride Lands after Scar convinced him that he was responsible and guilty of his father’s death. It is at this point he stumbles upon these low-life lazy bums who assure him that he can live a life of “hakuna matata.” Which as the song highlights means NO WORRIES. They convince Simba that one can live a life without a past, without responsibilities, without any worries, “for the rest of your days.”
I want each of you to go back in time with me to when there were no bills to pay, no debt, no work schedules, no classes, no due dates, no meetings, no real responsibilities. You simply were a kid. Go back with me to when you were able to run around, play outside, and be reckless knowing all the while that Mama had some grilled cheese and red Kool-Aid waiting for you at the house. Can you remember that time where you really had no stress, no anxiety, and no fear of the future, minus the fear of growing up? If you were given the priceless blessing of “growing up in the Church,” can you remember going to Bible class and hearing the unparalleled stories in God’s Word for the first time? Leaving with an excitement you could not wait to tell your parents about? This one may be difficult, but can you remember your relationship with God at that time? When you sent up prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude over the simplest of items, like your toy Tonka truck, instead of praying you could make the payment on your real one in the driveway today?
What a blessing it was to be able to be a child with no worries, metaphorically or literally, singing “Hakuna Matata” at the top of your lungs. If you were like me singing this, you believed Timon and Pumbaa were telling the truth that you really could have no worries for the rest of your days. However, at some point in each of our lives, these days of no worries ENDED. Pre-school started, elementary school started, tests started, evaluations started, graduation requirements started, scholarships started, college started, DEBT STARTED, jobs started, marriage started, housing started, kids started, doctor visits started, and you find yourself like me watching The Lion King remake thinking…Timon and Pumbaa were just a couple of LIARS! How could Disney get away with such a LIE? The truth of the matter was that Simba had abandoned his family, his friends, his name, and his legacy, and was called back into the real world. He was awakened to the fact that living in a world with no worries was no longer possible, and he had to “remember who he was,” face his fears, his anxieties, his doubts, and yes…HIS WORRIES.
There is really no way for me to know where in life you are. And I really do not need to know because there is not an adult alive who has no fears, no anxieties, no stress, no doubts, or no worries. We all have them. We all wear them as baggage. We all find ourselves worrying about this and that. If you find yourself in this position, and you are looking for an actual CREDIBLE source of help better than Disney… Jesus has a promise for you. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus promises us that He will provide for us and that we should not worry about what to eat, drink, or wear. He comforts us by explaining how he takes care of the birds of the air, the flowers, and the grass. If He takes care of them, how much more will He provide for our needs? Just like the song suggests, Jesus says in verse 32 that “He knows just what we need.” The beauty of Jesus’ promise is that He is not guessing or estimating what we need. He knows what we need because He came in the flesh and experienced exactly what we NEED!
The only caveat is that Jesus promises this to those who are children of God. Luckily, He gives us the direct way to be one of those children in the context of the passage. First, He tells us that children of God are those who lay up treasures in Heaven and NOT on Earth, verses 19-21. Second, He tells us that children of God are those who seek to serve ONE Master, verse 24. Lastly, He tells us that children of God are those who seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, verse 33. Then He concludes by saying if we do these things, “All these things WILL be added unto you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble,” Matthew 6:33b-34. Because of this promise, we can live a life not worrying about tomorrow, knowing that God provided for us the gift of life. He provided His Son for us. He will provide for us in the future. He will provide for us in the life to come.
Does this mean we can live a life of hakuna matata, no worries? Are children of God IMMUNE to troubles, trials, anxieties, doubts, depression, or worries? No. But it does mean that God will take care of ALL the things that He knows we NEED. Whether through His other children (Acts 2:44-45) or through His divine plan, He “WILL supply all our NEEDS according to the riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:19. Is God going to make us the FINANCIALLY richest people on the planet? No, because He tells us, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven,” Matthew 19:24, and HE KNOWS WE DO NOT NEED RICHES! However, God is going to make us the most SPIRITUALLY rich people on the planet, and He already has by giving us His Son. Could the Christian life be denoted as hakuna matata? NO! However, is God going to provide for us the peace that surpasses understanding, a family to get through it with, and the expectation and hope of Heaven one day? He promises a resounding YES! Therefore, because of Jesus we can sing “Hakuna Matata” in view of the life to come and have no worries for the rest of our days, because we know we can always say, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us,” Romans 8:18.
-Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism