The neighborhood I grew up in was lots of fun at Halloween — at least it was in the late 60’s and 70’s. There were lots of kids and a quite a few adults who would go all out to scare us. The street looked like a block party with the numbers of trick-or-treaters. When I think back on my childhood, there is one Halloween I remember the most.
I could only have been six or seven. Perhaps it was the year I wore a Casper the Friendly Ghost costume. I carried my paper trick-or-treat sack that was half my height. I was with some of my friends and our parents followed us around the block — mom stayed back at the house to answer our door. I went to door after door — watching the candy drop into my bag. Chocolates were my favorites and always the Smarties. I loved Reeses, M&M’s, and Hershey bars. After I’d been around to all the houses, my dad walked me back home. I got into the house and prepared to dump out my candy treasures when I gasped. I looked down into the bag — it was empty! The grass in the yards had been wet from either rain or dew. The wet grass had saturated the bottom of my paper bag and my candy had broken through. I guess I had not been tall enough to keep the bag away from the ground. All my candy was gone except one yucky lime sucker with a lopsided Halloween pumpkin face etched on its surface. It grimaced at me and was clinging to the bag for dear life. I don’t even like those suckers. What about my chocolates? I wanted to cry and maybe I did — I was just a little kid.
Today, I think about that Halloween bag and I think about a life journey. You go through life and think you are getting some great stuff in your candy sack. You are having fun and laughing with your friends. Life is comfortable. You might get a little frightened from time to time but chalk it up to make believe. Bad things only happen to other people–so you tell yourself. At the end of your journey, at heaven’s door, the price of entry — God asks to see your sack of candy. You open up your sack — your life–and there’s nothing but one yucky lime Halloween sucker that you don’t even like. What happened to all the stuff you thought was great? Life was going great but you’ve lost it all somewhere. Lost opportunities and wasted time have disappeared. It would serve me well to think of this upon rising every morning. Every day we choose to live for the Kingdom of God, or, for our own temporal pleasures. Every day could be the last day we have to make the right choices–before opportunity is lost forever.
The beautiful thing about that night was what my dad did when he saw my ruined candy sack. I was sniffling tears and my dad took me back into the street with a new candy bag. He selected some houses where I’d already been and walked with me to the door. He explained what happened and, if there was still candy, I got more candy. Some gave me extra. At the end of the night, I’d never really known how much I lost from the ruined candy sack, but I knew exactly what I’d regained with my father’s help. I know there was some chocolates.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroys, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroy, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. — Matthew 7:19-21