jellybeans, Jelly Bellies, tin collections, the tin collector's tales, Ronald Reagan, treasures, talents, gifts, Pursuit of the Pudú, Destiny at Dolphin Bay, writing, hide, parable, Matthew 25, risk, Master, Easter, Chile

The Parable of the Jellybeans

Once upon a time, a woman loved jellybeans almost as much as she loved bacon. Her husband, desiring to please her, returned from a trip to the Land of Milk and Honey with a gigantic jar of Jelly Bellies. She tried to make them last a long time by nibbling on only a few each day.

It so happened that the couple had to make another trip away from home. They arranged for friends to housesit in the meantime, but the woman knew that the children of this family would gobble up every delicious edible they encountered. So what could she do?

She hid the jar of jellybeans in a very good place. In fact, it was such a perfect hiding spot that the woman herself couldn’t find them after she came home. The jellybeans turned up, hard, stale, and all but worthless, six months later when she was packing to move.

The moral of this parable is: Share your candy, Diana.

Easter Treasures

Jellybeans, along with cream eggs, chocolate bunnies, and marshmallow peeps, filled up the Easter baskets of my childhood. Easter also meant new clothes, white shoes, spring lilies, ham dinners, and inspiring old hymns of the faith: “Up from the grave He arose…”

Many of those memories have passed into history these days. For us here in Chile, Easter might feature an outdoor baptism accompanied by a lunch of fish sandwiches. That’s not so bad either—it’s still all about Jesus.

Can I share the joy of the Resurrection with you in this sweet Jellybean Prayer I discovered:

“Red is for the blood He gave
Green is for the grass He made.
Yellow is for the sun so bright.
Orange is for the edge of night.
Black is for the sins we made.

White is for the grace He gave.
Purple is for His hour of sorrow.
Pink is for our new tomorrow.”
–Charlene Dickerson

Because Jesus makes all our tomorrows new, we can receive and enjoy the treasures of life to the max. But only if we refuse to make gods out of them. The parable of my jellybeans teaches that special gifts, meant for the joy of sharing, should not be shoved to the back of the cupboard or concealed in a closet.

“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.” ―Ronald Reagan

The former president was so right. He was fond of jellybeans, especially the black licorice flavor, and kept a jar of them on his desk. I like licorice too, though personally, I prefer the red cinnamon ones, the hotter the better. But you certainly could tell something about my character by the way I hoarded and hid mine.

Moments for caution and prudence exist. Yet… Dear Lord, give me the grace to live generously without becoming gullible. To stay positive and discerning.

Talent Treasures

Perhaps it’s also selfishness to allow our God-given gifts and talents to molder in solitude and isolation when He intended for us to share them with abandon, in abundance. Whatever your sweet spot, friends, please share it with the world.

Putting my writing out there presents a risk as great as a jar of jellybeans in plain view of a group of hungry teenagers. It’s dangling my vulnerability before an audience maybe more ready to devour than to savor.  

In Story, screenwriting guru Robert McKee discusses some of a writer’s risks:

You risk time. “It takes 10+ years of adult life to find something millions of people want to hear and 10+ years to master this demanding craft before you will probably sell. You risk money because of what you could make in a normal profession.” And often you risk people in your life when your mind is constantly working elsewhere and others don’t understand.

“The child of God commits grievous sin by holding back his talents out of fear.” –Bryan McIntosh, Made for Eden

That’s why I’ve risked sharing Destiny at Dolphin Bay and now Pursuit of the Pudú. Are they true stories? Not totally, but they do sprout from and integrate many very real incidents. Are they perfect stories? Hardly. But they do represent a deep, brave breath as I dare to drag them from their drawer and send them into the world for Jesus.

Whether I use my writing talents as a hobby, as a profession, or as a treasured legacy, I have learned this: Share the candy, Diana.

Buried Treasures

In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, I see a parallel to my parable of the jellybeans. A man gave substantial gifts to three servants (a talent was an amount of money in Bible times), to be freely invested while he was away.

Two of the servants made good use of their cash. The third buried the gift in the ground. I see him digging a hole to hide the jar in his backyard. Why? The Scripture says he was afraid of the Master.

Why do I hold back with the treasures God has entrusted to me? Should I do nothing with them because… I think I deserved more? Another servant received “better” talents or opportunities than I did, and it needles me?

Perhaps I reserve for myself that which God has lavished on me to share? Or do I hope to avoid any criticism of my efforts when it’s time to give account of my stewardship?

In any case, the Master of the parable was displeased. He expected great things from his gracious gift, because he desired to praise and reward his servants. “To let the talent sit idle is to reject the gift,” Bryan McIntosh cautions. And on the bottom line, to reject the gift means to reject the goodness of the Giver.

So when the servant who hid his talent attempted to justify his action—or inaction—the Master refused to accept his pathetic excuses. “Lazy and worthless” was his harsh epithet.

How about “self-occupied” for the woman of the jellybeans parable? Fearful of losing out. Aloof, stingy, cold-hearted. Distrustful. Cynical.

Yes, perhaps those visiting kids acted greedy. Maybe they were thoughtless and rude. On the other hand, they might have felt hungry for a special welcome too. And I could have blessed them with a sweet treat.

These days I always display my jar–or tin–of jellybeans in the open. Until every last one has been offered and eaten. As I’ve learned to share my candy, I try to give my other talents and treasures away for the Master too.

No matter what the risk.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *