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Girl Meets God

    by Melissa Mathews

Who's Got the Golden Ticket?
Date Posted: June 14, 2009

“Pick up the candy and run!” our youngest son Grant screamed at the T.V.

“Don’t leave the chocolate. Take the chocolate you stupid idiot!”

Though a bit harsh, this was the advice that Grant offered to little Charlie in the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton’s 2005 movie version of Roald Dahl’s book).

It was day two of our trip home from Missouri to California-- the day we drove 15 hours. The bouncing and bickering in the backseat had called for a movie- a movie of my choosing lest they pick Rocky III and the energy in the backseat escalate even more.

I had chosen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is cute, light-hearted, and has a good message—bratty kids get what they deserve. If you haven’t seen it, I’m about to ruin the movie for you, so be warned. But I learned a lesson that I wasn't expecting.

In the movie, Willy Wonka, the world’s premiere candy maker, puts five golden tickets in his famous chocolate bars that go out to the far corners of the globe. The five lucky kids who find these tickets get a guided tour through the factory by none other than Mr. Wonka himself. One of these five children will also receive a prize “beyond their wildest imagination.”

When Grant yells, Little Charlie, who is a sweet boy from a poor family, finds himself in a candy store, buying his third chocolate bar in hopes of discovering the last golden ticket. His first chance comes via his yearly birthday present of a single bar of chocolate—but there’s no golden ticket. The second chance to find a golden ticket comes when his grandfather gets out his meager life savings and gives it to Charlie to buy a chocolate bar. Once again with bated breath, they open the candy to find no ticket.

As Charlie mopes through the streets, he comes upon money in the gutter, and goes with hope in his heart to buy one last chance at the golden ticket. He flies in a corner market, hands over the money, and asks for a Wonka chocolate bar. He rips open the paper, and there it is!!! The last golden ticket—his pass into the amazing world of Willy Wonka.

“Take the chocolate! Don't leave the chocolate!” Grant screams at the DVD screen as Charlie dashes home with the ticket in hand leaving the uneaten chocolate at some unseen spot on the counter.

I had to laugh at Grant. He was so concerned that poverty stricken Charlie not leave the candy behind that he failed to see that Charlie was leaving behind the insignificant for the significant, the minor for the major, the candy for the Candy Maker.

And I couldn’t help but think of the way we sometimes hang on to the temporal instead of the eternal. We grip the chocolate bar tightly instead of the golden ticket. We hold on to the things of the world instead of the things of heaven.

I remember when I was a teenager thinking how disappointing it would be to die before I went to college, got married, or had children. I believed that the world was grander than my future home in heaven. Many of us believe the world is grander than the things of God. We spend so much time making money, or playing sports, or improving our homes, or buying fancy cars and clothes that we fail to consider the eternal. We hold the chocolate bar so tightly that it melts in our hands when we should have dropped it and run out the door shouting to the world that we have the golden ticket- a relationship with Jesus-- the one who has the true power to make our life sweet and rewarding.

I love the words of Paul in Philippians 3:8: “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

So whatever you may be doing now, drop the candy bar, grab the golden ticket and run--run to the eternal things of God that offer our only true, lasting satisfaction.

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Biography Information:
I'm a preacher's kid, pastor's wife, and southern belle who married a Southern California boy. Can you say 'culture clash?' Scott and I have four boys - Max, Mark, Jackson, and Grant who keep us busy with homework and sports.

Scott and I have been married 22 years and currently live in Northern California where we are beginning year five as church planters. I also teach 12th grade English and love it.

I would love to hear from you. Email me anytime at melissa.g.mathews@gmail.com
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