A few years ago I heard the comparison made between making a jack-o-lantern and becoming a child of God. My wife reminded me a few weeks ago as I was tossing around topics for bulletin articles, so I thought this would be a good week to share my take on the comparison.
The journey to take a pumpkin and change it into a jack-o-lantern begins at the pumpkin patch. A whole field of pumpkins waiting to be chosen, waiting to serve a purpose. Then someone comes along and takes the time to inspect the fruit and pick it. Most freshly picked pumpkins will be a little dirty on the outside from the mud they’d been surrounded by in the field. Separating the pumpkin from the field, one must clean the dirt from the outside, truly separating the last remnants of the field from the pumpkin. When we repent of our sins, we separate ourselves from our life of sin and turn toward a clean walk of life in Christ. We’re “picked from the field” when we hear and believe the Gospel.
People and pumpkins have a lot in common. We both have an inside and an outside. The outside is what everyone sees – how we act, what we say and do, etc. The inside of a pumpkin is like our heart and soul. If a pumpkin is left in the field, it will slowly rot and die. The same thing goes for us. If we remain in the world, we eventually will die, with the hope of eternal life gone.
As you cut eyes into a pumpkin, you can see into the “heart and soul” of the pumpkin and it’s a mess. Just like our hearts and souls. “…the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead (Ecc. 9:3b).” So how do we get rid of the mess in our hearts?
God is the only one who can clean out our hearts, and the only way that can happen is if we humble ourselves with a child-like obedience to open ourselves up to His will. When we have heard the Gospel and believe, we confess that Jesus is the Son of the living God and open ourselves to His will. We then go down into the waters of baptism, and as Colossians 2:11-12, Paul details that in the waters of baptism God completes an operation separating the sinful man from the world and joining him with Christ. In this act God, through Christ’s sacrifice, reaches in and scoops out all the yucky stuff. This is my least favorite part of pumpkin carving, because I get messy as well. Jesus got messy for us. He took on our sins on the cross, and was beaten and humiliated, so that we could be reconciled to the Father. He got messy, so we could be clean.
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” – Ezekiel 36:25-27
If we did nothing after cleaning out the pumpkin, it would be hollow and empty. But as detailed in the verse above, the old is removed and the Spirit is placed inside. The carved pumpkin needs light to bring it to life. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12).” When we allow the light of Christ to dwell in us, it shines through into our life. Lighting a dark world, guiding them to the narrow path.
So you see, becoming a child of God is like becoming a jack-o-lantern. One who hears and believes the gospel that has been shared with them in some way has been picked from the field. Through repentance we change from a sinful life to a life for God’s purpose. We confess our belief and open ourselves to God’s will, allowing Him – through the waters of baptism – to clean out the mess of our hearts, filling us with the Spirit and the light of Christ, the light that we shine into all the world. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Mt. 5:16).”
If you have any questions, or desire to learn more about becoming a child of God according to the scriptures, please feel free to reach out to me here: firstname.lastname@example.org