October 31, 2014
As a kid, when I was trolling my neighborhood at Halloween for Reese’s peanut butter cups, Sweet-Tarts, Hershey bars, chip and pretzels, real money or the best treat of all—a full-size candy bar—I was often confused about what “trick or treat” actually was. I never really understood it!
Was I asking my neighbors if they wanted a trick from me? Was I asking homeowners whether they would trick me or give me candy? Was I supposed to perform a trick for my treat, like a dog? And what if they didn’t like my trick? Did I have to give them a treat from my bag? Why was I saying, “trick or treat?” The adult world is so confusing to kids!
But now, years later, Halloween has taken on a new meaning. This last day of October, when the air is crisp and cool and kids skip excitedly through their neighborhoods, it’s really about pretending to be someone we’re not, isn’t it? And in exchange, a stranger gives us a small “fun size” treat—a tiny, disappointing version of the massive king-size candy bar we really want. Remember Charlie Brown’s letdown when he realizes, “I got a rock?”
Isn’t this just like Satan’s plan? In the real story, God wants us to come to Him without a costume and without hiding behind a mask, simply baring our souls to Him. We don’t have to be nervous about a performing a trick or getting a mysterious treat—or about who is doing which one. We don’t need to be frightened as we approach His door. In fact, He comes to our door.
God isn’t a stranger we see only once a year in October, but a dear, loving Father and close friend who loves us more than anything. God has all the real treats. They are full-size and they satisfy every craving and desire. No tricks, just straight up honesty. We can be ourselves. There’s no reason for us to pretend to be anyone else. Micah 7:19 tells us that “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. [He] will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” With that kind of acceptance, why would we put on a costume or mask when we approach God?
Best of all, there’s no cheap imitation for the treats of the Kingdom. The King of Kings comes into our hearts and our lives, sharing His royal inheritance. All He has is ours. The best part of the real story is the cost—we don’t have to perform a special trick or make payments. We only have to ask in faith. In fact, Jesus did the ultimate trick. He endured humiliation, physical torture, judgment for our sins and separation from His Father. He died on the cross so we could enjoy all the treats that His Father—and our Father—offers, way beyond our heart’s desires.
Today, Halloween is controversial for many Christians. But as we think back on past Halloweens, take our kids around for fun and candy, or give out candy to other excited kids, we can be thankful for the treat our Father gave us. We can, and should, express real gratitude to God and be gleeful, just like the child who finds a huge candy bar in his bag.
We can also take this time to consider those in our lives who are still pretending to be someone else, still wearing a mask. What a wonderful opportunity to show them that there’s no need to hide from God. He accepts us for who we really are—every day of the year.
Instead of settling for a cheap, temporary treat that will give us fleeting satisfaction on this earth, let’s go all-in and accept the real treat that God offers. It’s a decision that could change every October—and every day—for the rest of our lives.
Remember, decisions determine your life, so choose well!