It was just a stack of cups, a huge bowl of M&Ms, and a simple truth I’ve heard a million times. But M&Ms have a new sweetness about them now.
“Who likes M&Ms?” asked John Hill, Director of the Laity Lodge Family Camp.
Small eyes began to sparkle and little hands shot up around the pavilion. John called about ten children forward, and each ran to the front, eager for a chocolatey treat. (While parents wondered just how many sugar-coated sweets John would give their children before brunch and the 5-hour drive home.) A collective gasp and a few “ooohs” slipped out as he tipped a bowl toward the children, revealing the endless supply of M&Ms inside.
The children quickly passed around some large plastic cup and lined up to see how – and how many – M&Ms would be distributed. “Now these M&Ms are precious, aren’t they?” asked John. The children nodded with solemn expressions. “So, we don’t want any to fall on the ground. We know those can’t be eaten.” A few children looked skeptical, but the majority agreed.
John approached the first young girl in line and proceeded to fill her cup. “Tell me when you think I should stop,” he instructed. Nearly to the top, with a broad smile across her face, she reached her limit. “Hmmmm. You know, I think I want to give you more than that. In fact, I’m just going to keep pouring. I’m not going to stop. So what are you going to do?”
The girl watched as he continued to pour into her cup. She looked around, not quite sure what to do. The other children forgot their neat line, and gathered around, watching wide-eyed as the M&Ms neared the top of the cup. Adults began to shout from around the room. The little girl grabbed an idea and poured part of her cup into the boy’s who had been next in line.
But John kept pouring M&Ms.
This time she dumped the entire cupful into another empty cup. John began to refill her cup again. Part-way full, she emptied her cup again.
And John kept pouring M&Ms.
Soon the children caught on. As their cups filled up, they emptied whatever they had into another child’s empty cup. They called more to come down from the audience and passed around additional cups. John continued to pour, and the children continued to share.
1. At first, the children were hesitant to pour out their entire cups, fearful that they would not receive any more.
2. John wanted to continue pouring. He didn’t want to stop.
3. If a child did not pour out any of the M&Ms, they spilled onto the floor and lay wasted, unable to be enjoyed.
4. The amount a child poured out was the only limiting factor to what could be refilled.
5. Soon the children were receiving M&Ms from both John and each other.
I’m sure you can connect all the dots here.
And perhaps, like me, you’ll never look at M&Ms the same again.
How about you? What leftovers are you thinking about?
PS – The Laity Lodge Family Camp staff served as excellent examples of the M&M object lesson. I’ll be sharing about that with you later this week. And yes, the bowl of M&Ms did eventually run out. Thankfully, God’s bowl does not.