by Dianne Neal Matthews
We are Christ’s representatives. 2 Corinthians 5:20 GW
Most people have strong feelings about Halloween, one way or the other. Some love figuring out how to morph into another character using costumes and makeup. Others detest the emphasis on witches, ghosts, vampires, and monsters. Some people enjoy answering their door to hand out candy; others prefer to turn off their lights and pretend that nobody’s home.
My own attitude toward the holiday has fluctuated over the years. As a young mother, I dreaded coming up with ideas each October for wholesome yet fun costumes for four children. Now, as an empty nester living far away from family, I appreciate the chance to pass out candy bars, gush over cute little kids, and wave at parents on the sidewalk.
I still don’t care for yards decorated with giant spiders or fake headstones. But I have made my peace with Jack-O’-Lanterns. I’ve even decided they illustrate a few spiritual truths.
First impressions are important. One glance at a Jack-o’-lantern tells you its intended personality or mood. Some have a big friendly grin carved on their faces, while others exhibit frowns creepy enough to scare the fur off a black cat.
People react to the expression on our face, too, so it’s important that they see a reflection of Jesus. While we live on earth, we represent Him; God entrusts us with His message of reconciliation, forgiveness, and eternal life through Christ. Rather than stress, anger, or self-absorption, our face can show the joy and peace that springs from knowing our Savior. “Therefore, we are Christ’s representatives, and through us God is calling you” (2 Corinthians 5:20a GW).
You have a lot to offer. Many people throw away their carved pumpkin after Halloween, wasting the treasure inside. That orange pulp makes delicious pies for those who take the trouble to scoop it out; the roasted seeds are a healthy snack.
Our culture may obsess over physical appearance rather than what’s inside a person. But each one of us represents a unique combination of God-given talents, skills, abilities, and gifts. Our Creator wants us to use these treasures to build up His kingdom by encouraging, nurturing, and serving believers, and drawing others into His family. “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well” (Romans 12:6 NLT).
Let your light shine. The most noticeable Jack-o’-lanterns are the ones that have a candle or battery-operated tea light inside. That glowing light really makes them stand out on a dark night.
This world can be a cold, dark place. Thankfully, we can personally know the Light of the World. As we grow closer to Jesus and learn to imitate His character, we will develop an inner glow that makes us stand out in a crowd. People will take notice and want to know Him, too. “In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 CEB).
Next year I plan to start a new tradition. Whenever I pass a Jack-o’-lantern, I’ll imagine it prompting me to examine my spiritual walk; and I’ll ask myself three questions:
- What expression do I exhibit to the world? A warm, inviting smile that reflects my Savior’s love, or a look that makes me seem unapproachable?
- Am I putting all my God-given inner resources to use for His Kingdom work as He leads me?
- Do I behave in such a way that others see the light of Jesus shining in my life even in the darkest of circumstances?
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Dianne Neal Matthews has written, co-written, and contributed to twenty books. Her daily devotionals include The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation (a Selah Award winner). She also writes for websites, blogs, and compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus). Learn more at DianneNealMatthews.com or check out her books on Amazon.
Join the conversation: How do you examine your spiritual walk?