But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed (James 1:14 NKJV).
When I was a kid and cartoons were scarce, I would watch the Charlie Brown televised specials. They were broadcast like clockwork, an indicator that the holidays were upon us.
The Halloween episode didn’t resonate with me as much as Thanksgiving and Christmas. I could relate a little too readily to Charlie Brown’s misplaced trust in Lucy, his failed attempt at a costume, and his receipt of rocks instead of candy. Still, the dominant theme around Linus’ obsession with the Great Pumpkin is even more significant now that I am decades older.
Linus placed all his hopes and dreams into one idea to the detriment of time spent with family and friends. I suspect we all have great pumpkins in our lives that steal more time and attention than they ever deserved.
Our pumpkins disguise themselves as the very things we desire. They tend to come packaged with a fear of missing out—erroneously magnified in our minds. In hindsight, I recognize situations in my life where I wasted time and worried when I should have trusted God. The fear of losing something—like a job or an opportunity—can loom so large in our lives, we fail to view things in their proper perspective.
The Great Pumpkin Linus sought didn’t exist. He dismissed correction from his harsh but well-intentioned sister, Lucy. Suggestions and questions directed at us when we are desperate aren’t usually well received either. That’s why it’s vital to keep our focus on what is true and everlasting.
In a world of continual news and notifications, it can be hard to hear God. But it is possible. God corrects us with prompts and whispers—it’s up to us to hear and obey. When we take the focus off of our pumpkins and center it on God, we can then discern that our pumpkins and their promises are far smaller than we imagined.
Is your faith in God or in an illusion?
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning
(James 1:16-17 NKJV).