This children’s book sounds delightful. And, “The weak and weary in need of a Savior,” I can surely relate to.
“He must become greater; I must become less.”
John 3:30 (NIV)
The world is full of self-promotion. Flip through social media and see the many selfies, faces yearning for a compliment. Click through YouTube and watch all of the “yous” saying “me, me, me”. Listen to conversations and hear people talking over each other, at each other, past each other, in an attempt to be heard, or seen, or praised.
The world even demands we self-promote. Stand out or fall off the map! As I write this, I am in the middle of working toward tenure at a university. This means I have a certain number of years to convince a committee that I am worth keeping around. And so, I keep asking myself if the work I am doing will make me look good? Will anyone care that I’ve done this? How can I get credit for this? Who will notice me?
And now, my wife and I have just released a new children’s picture book, and we, like every writer or illustrator, are being asked to promote ourselves in order to introduce it to new audiences. We are being asked to tell the world why it should pay attention.
But we are torn. Because the title character of our book, little Gus Mustardseed, would never do such a thing. He would never say “Hey, look at me and the things I have done!”. Instead, he would say “Hey, look at God and the things He has done!”. He would follow the advice of John the Baptist, who when talking about Jesus, said,
“He must become greater, I must become less.”
John 3:30 (NIV)
This desire to toot our own horn is not new. My toddling children have taught me that selfishness starts at the beginning, and I’ve learned from myself that it doesn’t go away as we get older. Perhaps the thing Gus Mustardseed can teach us most clearly in this book is that the Lord doesn’t need heroic figures without fault. In fact, He seemingly delights in using the weak.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:27-31 (NIV)
The Unshakeable Faith of Gus Mustardseed was inspired by a parable of Jesus in Matthew 17:20, where He speaks of faith that can move mountains. However, the character of Gus was pieced together by the many small, unlikely people and circumstances the Lord has used to make Himself known. The ones who could not boast in themselves. The weak and weary in need of a Savior.
Perhaps God can use this tiny book for His glory. Perhaps he will use children who embrace big faith. Perhaps he is using you.
By Joshua and Sarah Lowe
Joshua and Sarah Lowe are the husband and wife team behind The Unshakeable Faith of Gus Mustardseed. Based in Illinois with their three children, Joshua is a professor at the School of Art and Design at Illinois Wesleyan University and Sarah is a professional illustrator of textiles, games, children’s decor, and book covers. Together, they have a passion for combining visuals and storytelling into lively picture books. You can visit them at www.thelowescreate.com.
Little Lamb Books: https://littlelambbooks.com/shop-books-more/