As a child, I really was never a big fan of church. I never got the whole point of it other than to socialize with other like-minded people. As I got older and understood things clearer, I came to rather enjoy the sermons and their story formats. Some stories were more striking than others but there was one that has stuck with me throughout the years.
It was told around Halloween which has always been a holiday I personally enjoyed. The church was so full that day that there were people standing up along the walls that framed the church. The pews were all packed in tightly, almost uncomfortably so. The priest had set out some pumpkins at the base of the altar; each different from the other. Although the sizes of the pumpkins were relatively the same, they were quite distinct.
The priest began to speak about what it is to be faithful and how to know if someone is sincere about their faith. He continued to describe the first pumpkin. It was your basic, good sized pumpkin; orange and really unremarkable. The priest stated that this pumpkin is a kin to those they say that they believe. They’re not challenged and they just follow along. He said that there was no way to truly know their heart, spirit or mind, but on the outside this is who they “say” are. We all start out this way.
The next pumpkin had a drawn face on it; a mask. Although different from the first pumpkin the priest began to describe those that claim to be faithful and believers and yet they take off their mask when they’re around others that don’t believe. They only believe when it’s convenient for them. This is similar to the bible’s account of the apostles denying that they knew Jesus. It’s was inconvenient, scary and possibly deadly for them to admit that they knew him. They abandoned him even after being told that they would deny him three times. They were afraid of the judgement from others.
The last pumpkin had a face carved deep in it with a light shining out from the candle that was lit up from within it. Its light spread to the other pumpkins that were on each side of this pumpkin. The carvings on this pumpkin were obvious to all that looked at it. The light from within cast out bright enough that everyone could see it. These are people whose faith is deep. It could not be easily hidden, denied or shaken by others. Even if they may have fear, they believe and their faith is unwavering.
While this story has been placed within the context of a religious setting, it has real world meaning for everyone. We’re all pumpkins! How you live your life has real world consequences. Many are just plain pumpkins, content with their lives as they are. Maybe they’re not even aware that they can change their direction in life. There are those that fake it. They wear a mask to impress others, but then take it off to suit their needs; chameleons of sorts. The carved pumpkins go all in, at great risk, to be successful at whatever they set themselves out to do.
When you’re all in, how “in” you really are will be shown by the light you either project or reject. Happiness and sadness; success and failure all shine through to those around you. It’s never enough to “say” you’re going to do something. Don’t say that you’ll do something only to not follow through because it’s inconvenient. If you say you’re going to do it, then do it! It’s you, not everyone else.
Knowing who you are, what you believe in and what you’re passionate about can lead you in many directions and lead you in many more if you don’t know who you are and what you believe.
So…who are you?