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Monday, March 26, 2012


This week is spring break for many colleges and universities. That means it’s time for a light-hearted post with deep spiritual meaning hidden just behind the smile.

We can learn about God’s character from the world around us—in the majesty of a mountain, the gentleness of a field of daisies, the strength of a redwood tree. I’d like to share with you three spiritual truths I’ve learned about God's character from Popeye.

1. Popeye’s name tells me about God, the Father

We know that the cartoon character, Popeye, is named because one of his eyes bulges. Still, if we  break down Popeye’s name, we can think:

Jesus taught us, in Mark 14:36,  that God is “Abba Father.” Abba Father is an intensely personal, loving, and tender reference that can be translated as Daddy or Papa. Taking us back to the 1950s, Papa was frequently shortened to Pop.

Abba Father—translated as "Pop"—is an intensely personal, loving, and tender reference to our heavenly Daddy.

The second part of the name, Popeye, focuses us on the eye. Scripture tells us, despite the fact that God is holding the universe together, He still has his eye on us. Cilvia D. Martin wrote the words to the wonderful gospel song “His eye is on the Sparrow” to show God’s watchfulness. The refrain from that song says:

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

2. Popeye is strong and rescues the weak.

In every cartoon episode, at some point, a bully is out to get Olive Oyl or baby Sweat Pea. It is therefore up to Popeye to make sure the weak are protected and saved from harm. 

Jesus is the savior of our souls; our ultimate rescuer and redeemer.

3. Popeye is what he is

We all know what Popeye sings:

I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.
I’m Popeye, the sailor man.

What does God say about himself?

“ I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)

A cartoon character doesn’t come close to the Holy God of the universe. But when we think about Popeye, perhaps it will remind us to think about the character of God. God is our Abba Father. He has His eye upon us. He is our savior. And He is the great I AM.

And here’s an extra: Think about the time in the boat, when Jesus calmed the waves. Jesus is a mighty “sailor man” too!

PRAYER:  Dear Abba Father, thank you for who you are and all you do for us. Thank you for loving us enough that you sent Jesus to save us. Thank you for being everything, always and forever. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What other ways might Popeye remind you of Jesus?


chris said...

ok, how about this...

Popeye ate his greens... right out of the can! That's not baby food, right? I mean, Popeye was obviously spiritually mature and not just feeding on baby food, like in Hebrews Chapter 5!

Plus, Popeye knew love and respect... like in Ephesians Chapter 5. He was a manly man for sure... and both the lion and the lamb!

From Carols Quill said...

@ Chris - good ones! I'm sure Jesus loved spinach, too!

lynnmosher said...

LOL This was such a fun post, Carol! I love it! I'm so glad I got to read it. Thanks for this. Bless you!

From Carols Quill said...

Thanks Lynn. I wrote this nearly a year ago and was afraid it was too far off the path. So glad you enjoyed it.

Pam B. said...

We all love a hero and Popeye was a hero. He always came from behind and won. He didn't give up when it got tough.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Pam - he sure was a hero. And a model for veggie lovers!