Illustration Idea for Faith and Works (James 2:14-26), or What to Do With Leftover Halloween Candy

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Halloween was this weekend, and my wife and I have a tradition of getting the really big candy bars to give out and attaching our church’s invitation/promotion postcard for our next sermon series (which happens to be “Hard Questions”). The candy bars are always a hit. My wife was quite pleased this year to hear some kids leaving saying, “This is the best house on the block!” She definitely has the gift of hospitality and didn’t mind a few repeat trick-or-treaters. We don’t know if the cards result in guests, but we hope at the very least they will couple generosity with God and will seek him more. Even if there are no practical gains, it’s fun to bless the kids who come to the door. And I do love messing with the teenagers who are too old to be trick-or-treating. It’s nice to know that ALL teenagers see me as a dork, not just the ones in our church.

This week, we had a lot of leftover huge candy bars at our house, which is not good for the health of anyone in our home (although our two-year-old daughter might try to convince you otherwise). This past Monday, I was scheduled to speak at our church’s Boy Scout troop on “Reverence.” I had been at a loss on how to teach a lesson on “Reverence” because I was never a Boy Scout.  So, I knew I was going to talk about what a genuine walk with Jesus looks like using James 2:14-26, but I wasn’t really happy about the ideas I had for making it “stick.” Then, my wife and I had a conversation before lunch about another idea, and I went quickly to work:

First, I opened up all of the leftover candy bars and M&Ms packages at the seams without ripping them. This took a lot of patience. I then emptied out the contents and put them in a Zip Loc bag for later.

I then folded up pieces of card stock about the size of a postcard (I actually used extra sermon postcards we had left over) and placed them in the empty candy wrappers make them look like a candy bar was inside (no card stock needed for the M&Ms, as you’ll see). I had to cut the card stock into different sizes that matched the size of the candy bars.

I may have eaten a few peanut M&Ms along the way, being my favorite and all.

My wife graciously picked up some raw, dried pinto beans at the store to put inside the wrappers in order to give them some weight.

We then sealed the wrappers (I used superglue, which worked really well). Here’s how the finished product looked:

At the beginning of my “talk” to the boys, I explained that our house had a lot of candy left over from Halloween. I started to eat a real Butterfinger candy bar in front of them, then asked if they wanted any. The result was an enthusiastic “YES!” from everyone.

I threw each Scout (we had about 16 there) a candy bar, and of course, they almost immediately knew they had been duped. I played dumb and asked how they could tell that the candy bars weren’t the real thing, because the OUTSIDE said they were candy bars, so doesn’t than mean that candy’s on the inside, no matter whay?  We then launched into talking about what genuine faith looks like, working from James 2:14-26.  Oh, I also brought out the real candy that I had taken out of the wrappers and shared with them.  It was a lot of fun!

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Comments

  1. Pastor Daniel Kalapala says:

    May our good LORD bless your ministry & use you for His Glory.

  2. Janet McGraw says:

    This is an awesome idea!! Things aren’t always what they appear to be!!

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