The Candy Store

14 March 2024

Just down the road stood a magnificent Candy Store. Children could purchase everything from brightly colored lollipops to sour gummies and big round candies that lasted all day. The owner loved to have children, or anyone for that matter, visit him.

Every piece of candy was sold with an offer to sit and relax and enjoy time together. Every piece of candy came with a free one that whoever made the purchase was to give away to someone who didn’t have any candy. When that second piece of candy was given away, it was to always include time spent together.

One day, the candymaker noticed that the children who came to visit him and buy candy were increasingly reluctant to spend time visiting with him. They would listen to whatever piece of wisdom he had to share, but they did so always thinking about something else and always rushing the candymaker to finish his tale faster and faster.

The children had started taking their free candy and practically throwing it at people instead of offering it kindly. At least they were still giving it away; they had to, or the candymaker wouldn’t sell them anything.

One afternoon, while sweeping the sidewalk in front of the store, the candymaker noticed that a child didn’t share his candy.

So, the next day, he watched carefully as the children left his store to see what they would do. To the candymaker’s great surprise, the children pocketed their free candy to save and eat later.

The children had become outright selfish and had no regard for the well-being of others.

The candymaker decided he had to do something about this.

The following day, when the children came to the candy store, they saw a sign placed on the door:

I have had enough of your time that you pretended you wanted to spend with me.

I have had enough of your hearts that don’t listen to what I have to say.

Go and be kind to your friends.

Go and share what I have so freely given you.

Then you can come back and see me.

The candymaker stood at his window to see what the children would do. They knew he was watching for them to do the right thing, but was it still the right thing if they were only doing it because he told them to?

The urge was overwhelming to get some more candy, so they did it.

The following morning, they found another note on the door.

You have done well giving away what I have given you to give away.

Now, can you give away something else you have?

The candymaker stood at the window and watched while the children pondered this.

After a while, he saw one girl get one of her favorite dolls and give it to a child who had none.

Then a boy gave away his favorite toy car.

Another child gave away a soccer ball, and yet another a book. On and on it went until all the children were laughing and having a good time together.

The candymaker unlocked his door, stepped outside, and invited all the children in.

“Candy all around,” he said. “Pick your favorite and give it to someone next to you until everyone has a piece of candy to enjoy. Then sit down and listen while I tell you a tale.”

After a few moments, with the children all settled in place on the brightly colored rug, the candymaker began.

“A very long time ago there was a group of people who were very special to their Maker. He provided everything for them and didn’t ask for much in return. The only thing He wanted was for them to be nice to other people and to tell them about Him.

"Every week, they came to worship Him at a special place He picked. They gave Him things and they followed the exact ways in which they were to give these things to Him. But they would leave this place where they were visiting with Him and go out and do mean things to people. It got to the point where they didn’t even want to spend time and visit. They just dropped off what they were supposed to and left.

"The Maker told them over and over again to be nice to other people and to tell them about Him and to come really spend time with Him.

But they wouldn’t listen! So, one day, the Maker said,

'Stop! You keep coming here and pretending that you want to spend time with me, but you really don’t care to hear what I say. You don’t really care to obey me and to do what I asked you to do. It means nothing to me that you bring me things if you don’t learn the lessons that I try to tell you about and you can’t learn those lessons if you don’t stop and listen. I have told you to go and be nice to other people and to tell them about Me. Go and do that, and then come back and we can spend some time together.'

"You see, the people were so busy doing their own things and caring about their own selves that they forgot how much their Maker loved them. They forgot that He made them special and unique and had given them a job to do to care for other people, to really love them, and to tell them about Him so that they could know their Maker, too.

“You children are a gift. You children are special. You are each made in unique ways with many different abilities and things that you like to do. But you need each other. Some of you are good at playing catch. Others are good at writing. Some like to draw and others like to run. And sometimes you need to stop and just be. That is why I make candy for you. It is for you to remember to share and to care for each other. It is to remind you that sometimes you need to just stop and spend time with your Maker.”