I have been reading an interesting book titled How to Be Like Walt by Pat Williams. It’s the story of how Walt Disney impacted the culture and world.
Today, we take a place like Disneyland for granted, but Disney made the place a reality against all odds.
He started in animation and constantly adapted the latest technology to reach a broader audience and always proved the critics wrong. He brought sound and color to animation and redefined the genre, introducing the first full-length animated motion picture, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
Disney moved on to live action films and had success after success. He then began to envision a place where families could come into a clean, safe environment, and visit the world of yesterday and tomorrow. The result was Disneyland and later Disney World.
It was said that Walt Disney had “One foot in the past and the other in the future.” He loved nostalgia, patriotism, hard work, values, and the idea of living a life of integrity and honor. He also loved to dream of what could be, and, unlike many, most of his dreams became reality.
Walt was constantly told it could not be done, and that only spurred him on. He had, according to this book, a “stick-to-it-ivity.”
There is a lot the church can learn from Disney
The odds are against us. We have our marching orders from Jesus to “go into all the world and preach the gospel.” And we live in such a dark world today that we wonder if we can really make a difference.
Consider this: the Church of the first century had it really hard too. Their world in that day, as with our world today, was messed up, big time!
We think conditions are bad in the twenty-first century (and indeed they are) but the world of the first century wasn’t a walk in the park, either. In fact, it was a most difficult time and place to bring the gospel.
Believers in those days lived under the iron fist of the godless and powerful Roman Empire. Immorality was rampant, divorce widespread, slavery the order of the day, and infanticide a regular practice. In city after city, prostitutes walked the streets and plied their trade openly.
The religious establishment of the day was corrupt to the core. Thousands of people openly practiced idolatry, spiritism, and outright demon worship. Temples erected to false gods stood on seemingly every corner.
What’s more, everywhere the believers went bringing the gospel message, they were harassed, ridiculed, physically assaulted, imprisoned, or—in some cases—put to death.
Yet within three decades, those original 120 disciples had multiplied and changed the world. They had a call to fullfill, a task to complete, and they “stuck to it.”
So what can we learn from them? More on this tomorrow.