The child’s wavy blond hair fell around her face as she peered into the hole carved into the top of the pumpkin. “Gross. Isn’t this clean enough? It’s icky. Isn’t there enough room for the light?” she whined to her brother, who kneeled close by and bent over his own pumpkin with both hands thrust inside.
Remembering my past pumpkin carving rituals, I paused in the middle of sorting pansies to see if someone would rescue the child and finish the task for her.
“Not clean enough,” the brother declared after examining his sister’s pumpkin. The girl rolled her eyes, sat back on her heels and sighed, tossing her scoop to the ground. Her brother shrugged his shoulders and returned to his own pumpkin preparation. She’d get no help from him.
The girl’s mom paused from leaf raking and glanced toward her children.
Ahh, mom to the rescue, I assumed. Wrong.
Mom leaned on her rake where she stopped her yard work. She encouraged her daughter to continue. “Scrape it clean — all the way to the walls. Get all the seeds and stringy stuff out.”
“Why?” the child still resisted the disgusting task.
“So you can put the candle inside and let the light shine through.”
The young girl cocked her head, as if considering whether she wanted a light in her pumpkin. After 60 seconds of weighing options, her wrinkled forehead relaxed. She picked up her scoop and kneeled to finish cleaning the pumpkin’s icky insides.
“Now I’m done,” the child’s voice drifted with the breeze into my yard. I watched the father round the corner from back of the house and walk over to the newspaper full of pumpkin goo. His daughter lifted the pumpkin to his outstretched hands. The father nodded and smiled as if to say, “Well done.” Then, without a word, he lowered himself to the ground and carved the pumpkin’s face through which the light would shine.
In that moment, I understood the Father’s call on my life. Only when I choose to be emptied of the goo of self-will, self-control, and self-love, can God transform me to make a difference. The more I empty myself of the goo, the more room I make for Him to fill me with His Holy Spirit. I am called to do as my young neighbor did … to hand my life to the Father and let Him shape me into the person He created me to be.
But first, I must choose to empty myself. To make room for His Light.
“You are the light of the world…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14, 16, NIV)
©2013 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.