I don’t know why I grabbed that bag-o-empty-calories and threw it in my cart. I was only at Walmart to pick up a few things, but the brightly colored display in the middle of the aisle caught my eye and I caved.
Perhaps it was an attempt to reclaim a little of my childhood. Cracker Jacks were one of my favorite snacks as a kid. I remember ripping open the tops of those little red and white striped boxes, eating the often stale but still delicious caramel-coated popcorn first and saving sweet and salty peanuts for last. Finally, I would carefully open the prize inside. It was always something pretty cheesy, a tattoo, sticker or some other little soon-to-be-forgotten trinket. It didn’t matter. The fact was, it was a prize! Not only did I get to enjoy a sticky sweet snack, but I also got a prize. Just for eating junk food!
So, when I dove into the bag of Cracker Jacks that I’d recently purchased, I did it in the exact same way.
Except this time, instead of a sticker or a tattoo, I got this:
I am 40 years old so I’m a little embarrassed to admit I found this terribly disappointing. There are some things an app cannot replace…Cracker Jack prizes are one of them.
They took away the fun! They muddle up what was so simple! It used to be: open a box, eat a snack, get a prize.
Now, it’s: open box, eat snack, open prize, go to website, follow link to apps, try to download, discover that your phone doesn’t even work with those dumb apps anyway.
It’s kinda like the way we have complicated the message of the Gospel.
Why do we take…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
…and turn it into:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him, attends church on a regular basis, tithes, votes the right way, is a teetotaler, associates with other good Christians, never swears, and avoids messing up at all costs shall not perish but have eternal life.
I wonder how many people enter church or start a conversation with a Christian because they are looking for the “prize inside” but walk away feeling tricked, disappointed and unfulfilled.
Let’s keep it simple and give them Jesus and trust Him to do the rest.