A Box of Chocolates
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7a
In the movie Forrest Gump, Forrest often has difficulty understanding life’s twists and turns, as well as the way others act. His mother had a way of putting life’s puzzles into words Forrest could understand. One of his favorite sayings from his mother was, “Life is like a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Forrest loved chocolates, so he understood the analogy. Inevitably, when he bought a box of chocolates for someone, he would eat a few before giving the rest away. He knew that there are varieties of flavors in every box of chocolates, all sharing at least one thing in common – chocolate.
Personally, facing a box of chocolates is somewhat daunting for me because I do not like coconut. I do not like the taste, and I abhor the texture. I learned, early on, that many – but not all – of the circular and oval chocolates were filled with coconut. I also learned that many – but not all – of the square and rectangular candies had caramel or some other filling I really liked. Even trying to sort chocolates by geometric shape, however, did not always prevent a mouthful of something I detested. I never knew what I was gonna get.
Forrest’s mother’s reference to life being like a box of chocolates is certainly true when dealing with people – you never know what you’re gonna get. Although the candies in a box of chocolates look relatively homogenous on the outside, they are very different on the inside. With people, however, the homogeneity is more internal than external. Most folks look and act very differently, but there is something good and pure within everyone – the Spirit of God. Connecting deeply with another, spirit to spirit, is not unlike the taste of chocolate on the tongue – sweet, savory, and satisfying. And that connection, once made, can cover for a lot of unpleasantness on the surface. Those we love are not perfect. They are fully capable of leaving us angry, sad, hurt, and disappointed. Yet, we stay with them because of connections that bind us together in spite of our quirky frailties. All the candies in a box of chocolates share something good in common – chocolate – just as all people share something good in common. When we experience another person, we will find deep beauty only when we look beyond skin color, hairstyle, clothes, sexual orientation, and education level. On the surface, people are like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get. Deep inside, however, we find the image of God.
Come home to church this Sunday. You never know what you’re gonna get…