Cheerios – Theology Essay
My grandson’s response brought back memories of my childhood. Maybe that happens more often the older you get. My wife and I like to have some of our grandchildren’s favorite cereals on hand when they spend the night. When Elijah was asked what kind he wanted, he answered, “Cheerios, but the honey-nut kind.” He got his honey-nut cheerios.
But I remembered how that was my favorite cereal when I was his age. Cheerios have been around a long time. I never did think much about the name until now. I just remembered how the advertising promoted the formation of muscles and strength for those who ate iron fortified Cheerios. Elijah is right though, now I also like Honey-nut Cheerios the best.
I had a friend from England who was fond of using the expression “Cheerio” for goodbye. I thought that a little strange, but after some reflection, I tend to prefer that over goodbye. Unfortunately most Americans would consider you a little peculiar if you went around saying, “Cheerio.” Cheerio is actually a British, informal expression of good wishes on parting company. I like “Cheerio” much better than “Goodbye”. Goodbye sounds so final. Although originally, goodbye was “God be with you.” We don’t hear that expression much in our secularized society. So, “Cheerio”.
I think Jesus had some British in him. He probably said, “Cheerio” a lot. At least he often used the expression, “Be of good cheer.” The New Oxford American Dictionary defines “cheer” as “2) give comfort or support to . . . also “Good cheer”, cheerfulness, optimism, or confidence causing happiness by its nature or appearance.”
As never before, we live in a time when people need to hear “Be of good cheer”. This Father’s Day many children don’t have the memory or heritage of having a father present in their lives. Many fathers face an uncertain and insecure future. They wonder if there is hope and a future for them and their children. Many people try to find cheer in a shot glass, a bottle, a can, or a pill. “Newsweek” magazine reported the 65% of Americans are having trouble sleeping. They wake up with a black cloud of despair hanging over them. Millions are now medicating themselves just to find a small bit of relief.
Jesus came to this earth to bring the Good News of hope, joy, and everlasting life. Jesus constantly told his followers to have “Good cheer”. In Matthew 14 we read the account of the disciples in a boat on the Sea of Galilee during an awful storm. The boat was battered by the winds and waves. Suddenly, they saw Jesus walking toward them on the water. They were terrified. They thought he was a ghost. Jesus called out to them, “Be of good cheer. It is I, be not afraid” (Matthew 14:27).
I’ve wondered why Jesus used those particular words. “Be of good cheer.” Why would he say this to men who thought they were about to die? Remember the word cheer means “to be relieved, happy, released from fear”. In the disciples time of distress Jesus tied the word to his identity. “It is I – Be of good cheer, be not afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Jesus says, “I will never leave you or forsake you . . . I will be with you always.” If we will trust God and be of good cheer, fear, and the enemy of our soul will flee.
How can we be of good cheer always?
First – FEAR NOT. Jesus constantly urged his followers not to fear. When we become preoccupied with our problems, circumstances, and storms, fear will take us captive. Put your eyes of Jesus. Remember God’s promises. “That brings good tidings of good news; that publishes salvation; that says unto Zion, your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7) Be of good cheer! (John 16:33; Acts 17:22)
Second – FORGET NOT His promises and benefits. When Israel forgot their Maker, fear of the enemy entered their hearts. (Isaiah 51:13) David told his soul not to forget God’s goodness, mercy, and benefits. (Psalm 103)
Third – FAILED NOT. The Lord has never once failed His people. God cannot and will not fail you. (Psalm 37:24-25)
Fourth – FOLLOW NOT the path of the proud, but the path of humility. Jesus set an example of humility. (Philippians 2) He taught that we must become as children. As we come into our teenage years, we begin to act like “sophisticated adults”. Jesus taught the blessing of childlike faith, love, and humility. (James 4:6-10)
Fifth – FUSS NOT with the bustle and business of life. But fellowship daily and moment by moment with the Lord. Martha was busy about many things, but Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. Who do you think had more cheer, joy, love, and peace? Jesus said that Mary did. (Luke 10:38-41) Fellowship with Jesus brings cheer and true lasting satisfaction. Hear His call, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens unto me, I will come into him and sup with him and he with me” (Revelation 3:20)
Cheerio! Be of good cheer!