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Trick-or-Treating at Willy Wonka’s

For some, Halloween is all about masks, wigs, and crazy costumes. But when I was a kid, there was only one thing that mattered: free candy. Every October, my brother and I would rummage around in the basement and piece together anything that would pass for a legit trick-or-treat disguise. It didn’t really matter what we looked like. We’d ring neighborhood doorbells for hours before heading home to inventory our spoils.

Over the years we mapped out the addresses in town that would yield the richest confectionery harvest, but one house stood high above all others: 830 Lathrop Avenue. Home to the owner of the Ferrara Pan candy factory.

Ahhh yes, it was almost too good to be true. Our own version of Willy Wonka lived just a few blocks away! The anticipation of visiting this house on October 31st was unlike any other experience. Just inside that door were treasures untold… the things kids only dream of… cases upon cases of freshly made candies stacked high in the hallway, just waiting to be generously dealt into our bags.

My friends and I always circled back to this mysteriously wonderful place more than once each Halloween. Mr. Ferrara didn’t mind. In fact, he shared our enthusiasm. Clearly this was one of his favorite days of the year as well.

I like to think of this as a cool visual of our future rewards in Heaven. Scripture indicates that faithful believers will receive Heavenly rewards for their service to God on earth. Some Christians question why this is necessary, or even hesitate to use this as a motivation in their spiritual lives. After all, they say, isn’t spending eternity with our Lord in paradise reward enough? And shouldn’t we be serving God out of our love for Him, not seeking rewards? Do we really need more?

No, we don’t need more, but God, in His love, offers more. He created these rewards especially for His children, and we can look forward to receiving them without guilt or question. And the excitement will not just be ours, but think of the joy it will bring the Lord as well. He’s been waiting for this moment too — to share what He has in store for us, and see the jubilation on our faces as we experience that mysteriously wonderful place!

Matthew 25:21 – “Well done, good and faithful servant… Come and share your master’s happiness!”