Men in Black 3–Movie Review
“If you pull this off, it’ll take a miracle—but it’ll be my new favorite moment in history.” Griffin
I won’t try to recap the story of Men in Black 3. It involved time travel and saving the world from an evil alien. It was cute and I laughed a lot. I was entertained, to be sure. There is one thing though which sticks out to me as I think back over the movie—the quote from Griffin.
Let me set it up for you. The world as we know it (or as they know, aliens and all) is at stake. If the men in black don’t stop the evil alien, then he will open up a portal for his evil alien race to invade earth and attack…and once that happens, it will be too late—earth will be doomed. Griffin has the ability to see the future—not just the future, but every possible outcome of the future, all at once. He doesn’t know which will happen, just that any of the scenarios in his mind might happen. Furthermore, he knows the statistical probability of each scenario.
Griffin looks into the future to see if the Men in Black are able to stop the evil alien. He sees various possibilities, only one involves them being successful. He also sees the probability of that one occurring— “It’ll take a miracle.”
Griffin had just talked about his favorite moment in history—a baseball game. A win that seemed impossible, but everything came together in statistical magic, the stars aligned, so to speak, and his team won in a moment of shining brilliance. It all happened in an instant, a single play that turned the tide of his team’s history.
Griffin told the MIB that if they pulled it off, that would be his new favorite moment in history. Why? Because it would take a miracle, because the stars would have to align, because it would take everything they had to pull it off, because so much was at stake, because it would be a moment of shining brilliance.
Isn’t that how we are made? Don’t we all love those moments of miraculous genius? It’s why we love heroes and highlight reels, sporting competitions and underdog stories. We love to watch those moments over and over. While we love to revel in them, I think the truth is we rarely choose to embrace them when they are offered to us to live. We love to watch someone else put it all on the line, but we are terrified if it’s us that has to put it on the line.
How many times have you done something that you believed in so much you were willing to go all in? How many times have you been willing the bet the farm on something, because you saw in it your opportunity for greatness? Not to be great yourself, mind you, but to be a part of something great, to do something great.
The Bible is full of people who God asked to do crazy, risky things—things that would take a miracle to pull off (there is some comfort when you know it’s God Himself who has asked you to do the crazy thing, seeing as He is fully capable of supply the miracle element). Aren’t those our favorite moments in history? Aren’t those the stories we tell to our children? Daniel in the Lion’s Den; Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego in the fiery furnace; Peter walking on the water; the Israelites crossing the Red Sea on dry land; Abraham going up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac as God asked him to; Jesus dying on the cross…and then rising again in obedience to God the Father and love for us…need I go on?
When Jesus calls us, he asks us to go all in. He wants all of us. He wants us to answer yes to every “assignment” He has for us, no matter how overwhelming, how big, how scary…it’s OK, He can supply the miracle it will take to pull it off. Maybe he’s asking you to do something that seems very small and dull. It may seem to you that the only miracle you’ll need is the one to be patient and content with such a menial task. Don’t worry—He can supply that too.
One of my favorite stories is of Brother Lawrence who learned to practice the presence of God in the most humble and mundane of tasks. He worked in humbly and relatively obscurely in the kitchen at a monastery and after his death his writings were compiled and published. He wrote, “Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.”
I suspect, in our American culture at least, doing small things greatly is as difficult as, if not more so, than doing great things. In either case, God is there to provide the miracle we need to get the task at hand done. In either task, when we pull it off—whether a great thing that costs us all, or a small thing that costs us all to do greatly—I’m pretty sure that moment becomes God’s new favorite moment in our history.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also point out that if God is asking you to risk it all, there is still no guarantee how it will turn out. The MIB had no guarantee, neither do you. You do it because it’s worth the risk, and because God asks it of you; you don’t do it because results are guaranteed. I love the words of Job who essentially lost everything in an honor match between God and Satan, “Though he slay me, yet I will trust him.” This from a man with sores oozing all over his body who had already lost his home, his wealth, his children and his health. Similarly, I love the words of Daniels’ buddies as they faced the fiery furnace: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” They knew that God could, and they trusted Him to decide whether He would. Can you say the same?
Questions for Discussion:
- What are you favorite moments in history and why?
- What are you favorite moments in your personal history and why?
- Have you ever felt that God asked you to do something crazy, something great, something that would require you to be all in?
- Which is harder for you: to risk it all to do something great, or to be content to do something small and do it greatly?
- Can you say with Job, “Though he slay me, yet I will trust Him?” or with Daniel’s friends, “The God I serve is able to save me from [fill in the blank], and He will rescue me…BUT, even if he does not, I won’t serve any one or any thing else”?
- Have you ever felt like God asked you to risk it all, fully confident He would supply the miracle you needed to pull it off, and He didn’t? How did you respond to that?
If this has been your story—that you risked it all for God (at His bidding, nonetheless), but He didn’t supply the miracle you needed, then I want to share something I read earlier today that might encourage you.
Martha…said to Jesus, “Lord, If Only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” And Jesus could have been there; He was not far away. He knew all about it and He let Lazarus die.
There’s an if in every life—something God could have done differently if He had chosen to do so. He has all power, yet He often allows that if to be there. God [wants to meet your if with His if], just as He [did] for Martha. Jesus told Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). Martha wanted Lazarus to be delivered from death; Christ wanted Lazarus to be triumphant over death.
Click here to see a collection of quotes from Men in Black 3.
–By Stacey Tuttle-