This past week someone turned in a question on our website in our Q&A section. It’s a chance for people to ask theological, practical questions. The form they fill out begins with the phrase: “What does the Bible say about…” and then they put their question.
The question turned in this past week read: “What does the Bible say about your church’s name on my child’s candy?” Obviously it was submitted by a parent whose child received candy from one of our Life Group’s Love Your Neighbor events that we do on Halloween.
This type of question breaks my heart because a person is so negative toward God’s church that they would take the time to complain about the candy their child received. My guess is that if they walked into Wal-Mart, or Kroger, or any other store, and their child received a free bag of candy that said: “Compliments of Wal-Mart,” my guess is the only thing the parent would say is “Thank you.”
Somehow the fact that a church, trying to demonstrate the love of God in a practical way in our communities, and yes, heaven for bid, letting people know there is a church in their community, the fact that a church gave them the candy is somehow offensive to them.
First, I might suggest, if you find the candy that offensive, take it back to the house that gave it to you. They won’t be hard to find. It was the house where the people were smiling, serving coffee and hot chocolate, (I hope we didn’t use Cross Culture cups!) wishing you a great night, and thanking you for coming. I’m sure if you explain to them that you find candy with a church’s name on it offensive they will gladly take it back. I don’t know if your child will understand why that candy is offensive, but I’ll let you explain that to them.
I’m sure that sounded a little sarcastic, since that’s how I intended it, but that person did take the time to go to our website and post the question, so the least I can do is attempt to answer his or her question. So, what does the Bible say about Cross Culture Church’s name on the candy we gave out? The short answer is, nothing. However, the Bible has much to say about the motive behind why we gave out candy with our name on the bags.
In one instance the disciples thought Jesus couldn’t be bothered with reaching out to and ministering to children, so they tried to run them off. That didn’t sit too well with Jesus:
When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.’ (Mark 10:14 NLT)
On another occasion Jesus’ disciples were trying to find out who He thought was greatest in the kingdom. Jesus called a child to come to Him and held up the faith of a child as a model for greatness in the kingdom of God. Jesus then went on to say:
And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:5-6)
Clearly children our near and dear to the heart of God, and since we are called to have the same heart it would seem rational that we would seek to bless children. That’s why, by the way, we have such an awesome children’s ministry at Cross Culture Church. Coral and her team believe in the value and worth of all children, and they seek to honor the Lord by loving and investing in children the way God would want us to. (Whoops, there I go promoting God’s church again.)
As most of you know I could go on and on, but let me just close with what the Bible says about the whole idea of trying to reach out to people and invite them into a local church. Jesus tells His disciples a parable to emphasize His desire for people to come to Him:
But Jesus said to him, ‘A man once gave a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time for the banquet he sent his slave to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, because everything is now ready.’ But one after another they all began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going out to examine them. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I just got married, and I cannot come.’ So the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the master of the household was furious and said to his slave, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and alleys of the city, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ Then the slave said, ‘Sir, what you instructed has been done, and there is still room.’ So the master said to his slave, ‘Go out to the highways and country roads and urge people to come in, so that my house will be filled. For I tell you, not one of those individuals who were invited will taste my banquet!’ (Luke 14:16-24 NET)
I apologize if our candy offended you, but please know that our intentions were only good. You see we really believe that there is a God, and we want all people to know God’s love.
As in Jesus’ parable not everyone wants to respond to God’s invitation and come into His house. We get that, and we know that we can’t change it. But neither can we stop doing what God has asked us to do, inviting people, all people, to come. So next year, if it bothers you that much, just skip the house with the candy from Cross Culture Church. We promise we won’t be offended. How can we be, somebody invited us to discover God’s amazing grace. Now that’s sweet!
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