It’s an annual rite of passage that takes place at the Dendy household year in and year out. The only difference for this year was that we had an extra child in our midst engaging in the October ritual of carving pumpkins.
We had three itty bitty pumpkins for Faith, Joshua and Chase (our 4 year old friend for the weekend).
We had one ginormous pumpkin for the whole family.
Let the ritual begin!!!
I grabbed the extra sharp knife and plunged it into the skull of the gargantuan pumpkin and started carving away.
Little Chase pulled on the stem of the pumpkin and off came Mr. Pumpkin’s top along with the stringy brains and seeds reluctantly attached.
I reached over and grabbed the big silver spoon that would serve as the excavator of the guts that were still inside Mr. Pumpkin. With a glee in my voice I proudly proclaimed the next step to Chase. “Now, we have to get the guts out!”
Listen to Chase’s response…
“You have to get the guts out, so the light can go inside and shine through…”
I cannot begin to tell you how many conversations I have had over the years as a pastor that went something like this…
“Well Pastor, it’s awfully good to see you. I appreciate the invitation to come back to church. Once I get my life straight and get a few things ironed out, I’ll be back.”
For the first few years I would smile and say, “Sounds great! I hope to see you soon.”
In the last few years my response drastically changed.
I would hear their response about wanting to get their life straight before they came back or even come for the first time.
My next move went something like this…
I would lovingly and with great care and compassion put my hand on their shoulder and look straight into their eyes and say, “Well then, I guess I won’t be seeing you anytime soon…(Dramatic pause)…If you’re waiting until you get your life straight before you get to church then you will never get there.”
More times than not, I never saw the person in church ever again.
Where do we get this idea that we have to “get the guts out” before the light can come in and shine?
The beauty of the gospel, as I read it, is that Jesus, the Light, comes into our world, into our neighborhood and into our lives while the stringy, sticky guts and seeds are still in there. The Light of Jesus shines through the guts, the strings and the seeds.
And I don’t know about you, but that makes this big ol Pumpkin head smile from ear to ear!!
There is also great joy in knowing that it is Jesus who removes the sticky, stringy seeds and smooths out the inside so that The Light can shine brighter.
Whatever you do, don’t fall for this idea that Jesus only comes into the lives of those who don’t have the guts!
I got guts!
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8. 12 ESV)
Laugh often and Fear not!