Last weekend, after our assortment of hockey and soccer games, we took the kids to the pumpkin patch. This is a yearly ritual in our family -- one that nearly always ends in an argument with my youngest. She always wants to buy the biggest, tallest, most magnificent pumpkin in the patch. My wallet does not ever want to buy that pumpkin -- thus the argument. We only get one pumpkin that is big enough to carve each year, then the girls get to pick a smaller pumpkin to decorate with markers and construction paper. It's the big pumpkin that causes all the drama.
Our pumpkin patch trip usually ends with my youngest stomping off or in tears. I've yet to figure out how to keep this task from becoming a power struggle with her. This year was no different. She chose a pumpkin that probably would have cost $20 all by itself, and we spent 10 minutes trying to persuade her of the merits of the smaller pumpkin we had chosen. Nothing we said could convince her until we pointed out that her pumpkin had a flaw -- one small hole. After we pointed out the flaw in her pumpkin, she was persuaded that the pumpkin we had chosen was going to be OK.
I have discovered when we are choosing pumpkins, it's not the fact that my youngest doesn't like the pumpkin we choose; it's that she wants to choose her own. The fact that she chose the pumpkin makes it valuable to her. Just as the fact that God chose us makes us valuable to Him. This week's verse, 1 Peter 2:9 says "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."
Every child needs to know not just that God loves them but that God chose them to be a part of His family. And it's not just children that need to hear this. Many adults have a hard time believing that God would choose them to be a part of His family. God loves each of you, and He chose you to be a part of His family. You are chosen and set apart by God, part of a holy nation.
If you haven't yet made your pumpkin patch trek this year, take a moment while you're there and use a couple of pumpkins to show your children that God chose them -- with all their faults and flaws -- to be part of His family.
- Choose three pumpkins -- one "perfect" one, one slightly flawed and one rotten. Line them up and ask your child which pumpkin he would like to take home. He will probably choose the perfect one.
- Explain to your child that while we are drawn to the perfect things, God chose us even though sometimes we look like the slightly flawed pumpkin and and sometimes we look like the rotten pumpkin. Despite that God chooses to offer us a place in His family.
- Remind your child that God can take the imperfect (us) and turn it into something beautiful that He can use.
As you learn your verse this week, place a small pumpkin someplace where you and your kids can see it to remind you that God has chosen the imperfect pumpkins in the patch -- you -- to be a part of His family.