30 April 2008

The Candy Dish

Years ago, I had a candy dish on my desk. Each week, I would fill it with a variety of candies - usually found at the dollar store - place it on my desk, and watch the feeding frenzy for the week begin. I eventually stopped bringing candy in and refused to keep candy on my desk for over a year. I changed my mind when a good friend of mine asked me to start it again. And I am quickly remembering why I stopped in the first place. First, you have to understand the people who are stopping to get candy every day:

THE DIGGERS: These are the people who will stand at the bowl of candy and root through it to find that "perfect" piece of candy. They are the ones who will examine almost every piece of candy in the bowl, churning the candy over and over and over again and either exclaim with joy when they find the last Tootsie Roll at the very bottom - or walk away in disgust muttering, "there's no good candy in the bowl today."

THE GRABBERS: These are the people who grab a handful of candy whenever they walk by the bowl and take the candy back to their desk and hoard it for later enjoyment. They are only concerned about what's in the bowl for them and have no concern about the other co-workers who might want a piece of candy as well.

THE COMPLAINERS: These are the people who, no matter if the candy bowl is full of chocolate and chocolate only, will complain that there are no peppermints in the bowl. "Why didn't you bring in .... (whatever their candy of choice might be that day) ...? That's the candy I like best. You never bring that candy in. I don't like chocolate." (Yeah, there actually are people out there that don't like chocolate...imagine that!

THE HEAD SHAKERS: These are the people (usually the skinny, don't weigh more than 100 pounds women) who walk by without getting any candy from the dish and comment as they walk by, looking at the candy dish longingly: "I just don't see how you do it. All this candy on your desk and you don't eat ANY of it. I just don't understand." (Maybe being diabetic has something to do with that...also, I deliberately don't buy candy that would tempt me...)

And then finally, THE SNEAKY TAKERS: These are the people who will walk by my desk and not take a piece of candy while I am sitting at my computer, but somehow miraculously, have candy at their desk or the wrappers in their trash whenever I leave my desk to attend a meeting, or go to lunch, or go home for the evening.

Did I mention that the candy in the dish is FREE? There is no piggy bank for money, no solicitation for contributions to pay for the candy...(except for the month of October when I donate any cash collected to our United Way campaign) ... it is a free and clear gift. Just like salvation is a free gift from God. And just like the candy dish, how we view and accept the gift of salvation - or how we manifest or show our relationship with Christ - is similar to how my co-workers treat the bowl sitting on my desk.

There are people who "dig" around in the Bible, picking and choosing what texts/precepts they want to live by. "Ok, being blessed works for me - returning a faithful tithe and offering, not so much." There are the "grabbers" - those who want to keep the Good News of what the Lord has done for them to themselves and not share it with others in need who are all around them, starving for just a morsel of the sweetness found in the Lord. I don't even need to go into the "complainers", do I? We all know one (or two or three or a hundred). Just as we know the "head shakers" who sit back, never participate, yet watch and tsk tsk whatever effort someone else may be putting forth to do the right thing. And there are those who don't want to be upfront and honest with their relationship with Christ, but some times the evidence betrays them.

There is another group of people (and likewise, another group of Christians): THE APPRECIATIVE. There are people who every time I refill the candy dish express their appreciation - especially if I provide a candy that I know they specifically enjoy. [And I must admit, I will go the extra mile to get Atomic Fireballs for one and DOTS for another just because every time I do, they are so grateful that I thought about them specifically.] And I think God does the same for us. For example, I love rainbows - every time I see one, I stop and thank God for His special "just for me" blessing of the rainbow. And I know, I feel within my soul, that because I express my appreciation for it, I have seen some amazing rainbows when seeing a rainbow is the last thing I would expect to see. How God must feel when we thank Him for specific blessings that He grants to us. [Think of the story of the ten lepers...all were healed, only one returned to say "Thanks".]

I don't know which group you saw yourself in as you read this blog, but I pray that if it is not the last group, you will ask God to give you whatever it is you need in order to move from where you are to where He wants and desires you to be.

Be blessed.

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