This weekend is thanksgiving. And we’re seeing a lot of pumpkins around these days. You also may be collecting pumpkins to carve out jack-o-lanterns for later this month on Hallowed Eve.
I want to show you how you can think about God when you see and work with pumpkins at this time of year. How God relates to us, what God thinks of us, and how God lives in us can all be told by a pumpkin.
First, where do pumpkins grow? In fields. But because they grow in different sizes and shapes, it’s hard to harvest them altogether. Before machines were used pumpkin farmers had to go into the field themselves to hand-pick the pumpkins.
God is like that with us. Because no two human beings are exactly alike—each of us is uniquely created, some large some small some young some old—God comes into our world in Jesus and picks us, for a special purpose.
Now, before we know the purpose God has for each of us, we must grow up a little bit and mature. What do you do with a pumpkin to get it ready for whatever reason you got in the first place? If you want to bake it or cook it, what do you have to do? If you want to carve a jack-o-lantern, what do you first have to do?
Yeah! You must get your hands in there and remove what’s inside. And what is inside a pumpkin? There are seeds. And there is all this stringy, yucky stuff that you want to throw out—it’s not good for much, I would think. But the seeds are good—for eating after you bake them, and for making more pumpkins if you plant them!
There’s good and there’s bad inside—all mixed together. It’s hard to separate the seeds from the stringy stuff perfectly. And it’s almost impossible to clean it out completely. In fact, I usually leave some of the mix of seeds and gunk inside.
As we grow up and older, we learn more about what’s inside of us. Some of it’s not good. Kind of like the yucky, stringy stuff in pumpkins, we just want to get rid of. When we say hurtful things to our friends, for example. What are some other things inside of us we don’t like very much?
But there’s also a lot of good stuff inside, abilities and values and seeds for our own growth to do good in the world, like loving other people. What are other things inside of us we like, that are good?
Finally, if you are making a jack-o-lantern, what do you put inside after you’ve cleaned it out a bit? A candle, or flashlight. What is the point of the light? Well, it’s usually dark outside already when you want people to see your jack-o-lantern and whatever you’ve carved into the side of it.
God’s puts His Spirit and light inside of us. In fact, it was already there when you were born. It may be a small light. But we call it the light of Christ Jesus that shines in and through us. And the purpose we have is to let the light of God shine so that others will see it in our own lives. Maybe in this season of pumpkins you can think about how you want others to see the good that is in you?
Thank you, Jesus, for shining your light in my heart. Help me to let your light shine in the world today. Amen.