Whether or not your family celebrates Halloween, chances are you’ve carved a pumpkin or two in your life. I have lots of fond memories of going to the pumpkin patch (or the grocery store) to pick out the perfect pumpkins. We always harvested the seeds and roasted them. As a little kid, I remember drawing the face of my jack-o-lantern with a Sharpie, so my daddy could cut it out for me. But my least favorite part was always reaching into the pumpkin and cleaning out the disgustingly wet guts. Ugh.
To this day the thought of the slimy, wet intestines of those pumpkins makes me wrinkle my nose a bit. But I do love the analogy that these pumpkins present. Have you heard it? It’s called The Pumpkin Parable.
Think about the icky-ness of that pumpkin in the beginning. Full of nothing but gross guts, right? But when you carve it, you take out all the yucky stuff, carve out a beautiful shape, and then put a light in it, for all to see. It becomes something new.
Now think about what Christ does for us. When He chose us, we were full of nothing but gross guts–that is, sin, evil desires, the flesh. But He cleans us out (removes our sin, takes away our evil desires), puts His mark on us (the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit), and puts His light in us, for all to see. We have become a totally new creation.
It’s really a beautiful analogy, and a good one to keep in mind as we see Jack-O-Lanterns everywhere. But I have a personal story to add…
Several years ago, we carved a pumpkin with a cross and put it on our front porch with a candle in it. On Halloween, dozens of trick-or-treaters climbed up our front steps and rang our doorbell. When we came back from our neighborhood rounds ourselves (we celebrated Halloween at that point), we found that the cross pumpkin had been kicked in. It was completely destroyed. As an eight-year-old, I was disgusted… How could anyone do such a thing?
But this is a good analogy, too. Sometimes the light of Jesus inside us makes us a target. It’s like it says in 2 Corinthians 2:15-16— “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?” This fragrance of Christ, this light that God has placed in us, is not pleasant to some. But keep in mind that the God who made us His witnesses promised to be with us “even to the end of the age.”
It may seem silly to compare these great topics of salvation to silly things like pumpkins, but they are good reminders for us. God cleaned us out and made us new. And, even if we experience persecution (even if its “just” persecution from Satan, in the form of discouragement or lies), we can be confident that the God who made us and redeemed us will certainly never, ever leave us.