It’s Halloween time! And, you know what that means. Candy! Lots & lots of Candy! And, Candy makes me think of one of my favorite movies I watched all the time growing up: Willy Wanka & The Chocolate Factory!
In case you haven’t seen the movie, Willy Wanka, who no one has ever seen, owns a giant, amazing candy factory. He hides 5 golden tickets inside 5 Wonka chocolate bars. Whoever finds the golden tickets gets to tour the factory & meet the famous Willy Wonka.
Everyone can identify with one of the five children who find tickets. While we all want to identify with sweet, humble Charlie, I think if we were all completely honest with ourselves, we’d have to identify ourselves with Veruca Salt.
Veruca is a spoiled child whose parents give her anything she wants. Her father ships tons of chocolate bars to their factory and has his workers tirelessly opening them until they find a golden ticket so she can go to the factory. The song she sings in the factory sums up her personality.
“I want the world
I want the whole world
I want to lock it all up in my pocket
It’s my bar of chocolate
Give it to me
Have you ever stopped and thought about all the amazing things you have in your life? I mean, have you realized how spoiled you are?
Some of you just thought, I am spoiled. I’m just like Veruca. I’m living the good life. The life I’ve always wanted. My family’s great, I love my job, I have the best friends anyone could ask for. Some of you thought, I’m not like her at all! I’m not spoiled. I work 3 jobs, which I ride a bicycle to, so I can barely pay rent in a dirty, shabby apartment and put a minimal amount of food on the table for my bored-out-of-their-mind kids. I have no friends and my family members are sick.
Guess what. You’re spoiled. We all are.
I’m not talking about comparing yourself and surroundings to a third world country. I’m not saying “someone has it worse than you.” I’m saying that, like Veruca, we’re not happy with what we have. And, when things don’t go our way, we sit in the corner or climb into bed and pout and whine until we get it!
Think of it this way. Here’s what a typical day looked like for me when I was working at the mall:
My alarm would go off, probably later than it should have because I wanted my sleep. I would get up at the last minute and put on dress clothes even though I wanted to wear my jeans. I drove to my usual coffee shop to get my usual latte, and I wanted that in a timely manner, even though I was the one running late. The guys at this coffee shop were great at catering to me. I would walk in, say hi, tell them I was running late, as usual, and they would make my drink and take my payment quickly, even if there was a line. Did I mention I never tipped them? Most of the time, I dreaded going to my job because it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I always walked in a few minutes late. Most of the time, I got away with it. I took my coffee out into the store even though that wasn’t allowed. I had to get my list of things done and exceed my sales quota so I could get my raise, even though others were trying to do the same thing.
I think you get the picture.
So often, we hear, you can be anything you want to be. It’s your life. Do what you want to do. Follow your dreams. YOLO (You only live once). Be all that you can be. You’re special. You’re amazing. You’re awesome. You’re number one. And, we believe that!
But, lately, I’ve begun to see that I can be anything God wants me to be. It’s His life. I’ll do what He wants me to do. Follow the dreams He’s given me. He’s awesome. He’s number one, not me.
Being selfish is nothing new. The Israelites were slaves in Egypt,. They complained about it and God sent Moses to lead them to the Promised Land. On their way, God provided for them, and yet they still complained. They complained about water and He provided water. They complain about food and He provides manna. When they came to Mount Sinai, the people saw and heard lightning, thunder, trumpets & smoke coming from the mountain. They knew God was powerful, that God provided for them, that He wanted good things for them. Yet when Moses didn’t come down from the mountain intheir timely manner, they asked Aaron to “make us gods that shall go before us” (Exodus 32).
How often do we get up on Sundays and go to our church. We walk in expecting our donuts and ourcoffee. We walk over to kids’ area and expect our children to be taken care of. (Let’s be really honest, here.) We get to service at our time (who shows up on time, right?). We sit in our seats. We want to hear songs we like. We want the sermon to cater to us and we want God to speak to us. (Well, maybe we just want Him to be quiet and let us listen to the preacher.) Sometimes, we leave thinking, Ididn’t really get anything out of it.
It’s not for you. It’s for God.
God did not redeem the people of Israel over and over and over for them. He did it to glorify Himself.
Ezekiel 36:22-23 – “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.”
And, it wasn’t just the Israelites.
Haggai 1:8 – Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord.
Psalm 23:3 – He restores my soul;He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
John 14:13 – And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 17:1 – Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,
1 Peter 4:11 – If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
So, whether we’re at home, work, the store, the coffee shop, church, wherever. Let’s do our best to shove the “Veruca” in us aside and do all things for the glory of His name. Because, we’re not awesome. He is.