Some Thoughts for Halloween

Each year about this time the Halloween debate begins to heat up. I’m not interested in adding to that debate, but I’ve read quite a bit lately from both sides and would like to share some random thoughts – and that is certainly what they are. Not arguments or even conclusions, but just thoughts.

First, as Christians, we must argue any position with both grace and truth. We must be committed to honoring the Lord with our conversation as we form personal positions and, more importantly, share them. This means we must be careful to always be truthful, but also kind and loving. This means, as Paul said it, that everything that comes out of our mouths should be “good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Eph 4:29).”

Second, I feel compelled to ask that we as believers “fight fair.” If you prefer not to celebrate, than please don’t accuse everyone else of being evil satan worshipers. Don’t even assume that they are aware of the origins or any negative connotations. If you do celebrate, don’t treat those who don’t as legalistic kill-joys who hate fun and just want to use God to further their personal agenda of meanness. Though I’ve described the extremes, I trust you get the point. We cannot assume we know why people do what they do. Remember that, despite your personal feeling on the issue, for most people this holiday is simply about candy, family fun, candy and dressing their kids up in cute costumes. And candy.

Lastly, I want to share what I myself was reminded of as I thought about this issue – don’t miss an opportunity to share God’s love. Whatever I think about Halloween, I should be thrilled by the chance to influence people toward a relationship with my Father – even if it’s for only a few seconds. As a Christian I have a hard time trying to justify passing up an opportunity to share God’s love and the Gospel. My family will be welcoming trick–or–treaters with candy, gospel tracts, and a warm smile. Though we each have to wrestle with the specifics, I think every believer should find a way to use this opportunity (and all other opportunities in life) for God’s glory.

My desire is that God will use His people in their communities to be a tremendous testimony of God’s love on this and every holiday and each day in between.

Wait For It

Waiting – it seems like all I do sometimes. At the moment, it’s waiting for the arrival of our baby girl (though I suspect I am not as eager as my very pregnant wife). Just a few months ago, it was waiting for the ever elusive closing date on our house. It seems like there’s always something. You know what I’m talking about because you wait a lot, too. In fact, the average person spends about an hour a day waiting! Waiting for a meal; waiting in line; waiting at stoplights and in traffic; waiting for files and web pages to load; waiting at the doctor’s office, pharmacy, or bank. Just waiting.

Most of us don’t really enjoy waiting that much, but there isn’t much that we can do. Perhaps we complain. Probably we try to distract ourselves with any number of amusements – music, books, iPads, etc. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that we often do everything we can to endure waiting and we miss out on one potential benefit of waiting – an opportunity to draw closer to God.

That’s right. Waiting should have a spiritual benefit for each of us. In Psalm 39:7, in the midst of contemplating the fleeting nature of his life, David asks this pointed question: “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” David was asking himself what he was really waiting for. What a wonderful question! What can I possibly be waiting for that can bring more satisfaction that God himself offers? Regardless of what I think I’m waiting for – a burger and fries or a baby – what I really need is God. All waiting can be waiting on Him. As you join me today in waiting, join me also in finding satisfaction in God alone. Let every line, every stoplight, every anxious moment be a reminder to seek him and wait because “blessed are all those who wait for Him (Isa 30:18).”