As a parent you have to love Halloween—at least the Trick or Treat part of it. First of all, my eight year old daughter looked adorable dressed up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Her ensemble was complete with ruby slippers and little basket that had some furry thing in it that was supposed to be Toto. And secondly, she seriously hauled in the goods when it comes to candy. Her little “Toto basket” was too small, so after filling it, she filled another plastic pumpkin to overflowing.
After three rounds of church friends and neighbors pouring goodies into her treat bags, I happily went through the loot with her. My favorites:
1) PayDay candy bars (The best part is that she doesn’t like them!).
2) Sour Skittles (She likes these so I had to resort to theft).
3) Reese Peanut Butter Cups (Not just the old fashioned kind, but the ones that have added caramel to the mixture).
4) Laffy Taffy (I know this is lame, but I really love the banana flavored ones).
5) Starburst Fruit Chews (No fruit in these things, but lots and lots of sugar!).
It will take us days, if not weeks, to put a dent in all of this stuff. We carefully went through it all because I grew up in the days of the rumors of razor blades in apples and straight pins being inserted into soft candies. We even had Trick or Treat canceled once when I was a boy because of these psycho threats (at least that’s what my mom told me).
Everything was going well until it was time for dinner. Our family joined hands as we always do and began to thank God for the food we were about to eat. We came to the part where we pray for the three children we sponsor through Compassion International . . . “Dear God, please bless Inti (who lives in Ecuador), Darwin (who lives in Peru) and Bakari (who lives in Tanzania). Please give them a warm place to sleep tonight and enough food to eat . . .” I thought I was going to choke.
It doesn’t help that I just returned from visiting Inti in Ecuador. That I visited numerous homes of children living in poverty. That I shared meals with people who subsist for a week on what I intake in one day.
I wonder if God is up in Heaven saying, “I have given Inti, Darwin and Bakari plenty to eat. The problem is that you overindulge on Halloween junk so much that there’s simply not enough to go around. YOU give them something to eat!”
Well, I need to go now. I need to eat all of the candy that my daughter graciously passed my way. Like my mom always said, “Finish all your food, there are starving children in Africa that would love to have it.”
I think one of the hardest things about working with poor people is how to reconcile it all. Well, I can’t reconcile it. I don’t know. Can God be pleased that we (or should I just bite the bullet and say “I”) get fatter and fatter while others don’t have enough to eat? And as I’m saying that, there’s a pint of Ben and Jerrys that I’m quite sure I’m going to make a dent in very soon. When Jesus said “The poor you will always have with you,” he was quoting from Deuteronomy 15. He didn’t finish the quote as it reads there but, no doubt, his listeners could have filled it in ” . . .Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy . . .”
Hey NY Marty,
The quote from Deuteronomy 15 is one of the most blatant and damaging misquotes of Jesus of all time. Historically people have used Jesus’ words to justify ignoring their responsibility to the poor.
You nailed it exactly. Jesus point was that “the poor you will have with you always,” so OF COURSE you need to live with open handed generosity!
Thanks for catching the second half of the verse he was quoting.
There is a really great SermonSpice video that I saw. It’s called “The Letter”. It’s kind of long, but it’s really worth watching all the way through. It’s right on the money with this topic.
Check out this song by Monk & Neagle. Very powerful lyrics.
“The 21st Time” – Monk & Neagle