The Night at the Museum franchise is a lot of fun and generally pretty clean, wholesome, and family friendly. This latest (and it appears the last) was equally refreshing. There are two messages in the movie which stand out to me and provide great opportunities to turn a fun family night into a teachable moment as well.
1. Do Unto Others…
The tablet which makes the magic happen was disintegrating. In their quest to “heal” the tablet, they discovered that the tablet came from an ancient pharaoh’s tomb and when that tomb was raided by scientists, they split the pharaoh and his family that were buried there into two museums: one in America and one in London. When the tablet’s mystery is solved and it is restored, the assumption is that the tablet will return, along with the pharaoh’s son, to America where they came from. The other museum characters, however, did not think this was right. They said that the tablet and the son should stay in England, so they could spend eternity together as originally planned. Ahkmenrah belonged with his family.
This was a very costly decision for the American museum characters. It meant they would never again come to life. The magic would stay in England. But they didn’t hesitate because they cared for their friend, Ahkmenrah. It was sacrificial love. The kind of love the Bible talks about. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” (Luke 6:31), and “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13). (Those are just two examples.)
- How hard do you think it was for the American museum characters to leave the tablet and Ahkmenrah in London?
- How did that show sacrificial love?
- Have you ever had to lay down your life or do something really sacrificial to show your love for someone else?
- Has anyone else ever sacrificed for you in that way?
2. People are the Quest
Lancelot had a hard time understanding what the quest really was. He was so focused on fixing the tablet he missed the greater point—the tablet only mattered because it affected the lives of the people Larry cared about. So, when his friends were endangered along the way, he was willing to set aside fixing the tablet to save his friends. This was something Lancelet didn’t understand because he thought the ultimate goal was getting the tablet fixed. He wasn’t willing to detour from the tablet to save a life, not initially. But at the end, he told Larry that he finally got it: “It was about them. The monkey was the quest, not the tablet. I understand now.”
It was easy to laugh at Lancelot. It was easy to see how he was missing the point, but we are a lot like Lancelot—more than we realize. In fact, Jesus spent a lot of his time on earth showing the Lancelot’s of his day how they were missing the point. For example, Pharisees were so focused on the law, they forgot that people mattered more (like when they got mad that he healed a guy on the Sabbath.) Some of us get so focused on position, success, advancement, and financial security that we forget that relationships matter more. In sports, we think that winning is most important. Sometimes we think our personal rights are most important. Even in the church, we can be tempted to think being spiritual (having various gifts and talents) is the most important thing. But always God comes back and reminds us that relationships (loving people) are the most important thing. In fact, people were so important to Jesus that He set aside His place in heaven to come and be with us and save us. Jesus said the two most important things in the whole world were 1. To love your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and 2. To love your neighbor as yourself. The entire “quest” of the Bible, if you will, is summed up in love and relationships with God and man. Pretty profound point for a silly, little movie, don’t you think?!
If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
- How was Lancelot missing the point?
- What was the real quest in the movie?
- What do you think our real quest is here on earth? (What do you think the Bible says it is?)
- How do we sometimes miss the point/the quest in life?