Ants in the Candy Canes

A number of years ago, I bought a dozen boxes of candy canes during a post-Christmas sale in a variety of unique flavors—like horehound, licorice, pina colada, and butterscotch. These delights satisfied my sweet tooth while I studied and wrote at my desk. I stood guard over this stash, making one candy cane last a couple days and supplying the kids with their own treats so they wouldn’t raid mine.

The following winter, after an exceptionally long and hectic stretch away from home, I blissfully settled back into my normal desk routine, looking forward to a few months off for writing and studying. But somehow, I had completely forgotten about my candy canes.

A few days later, I remembered my stash. Like a kid racing for the Christmas tree on Christmas morning, I ran to the cupboard, grabbed a box and snagged one. To my horror, each of the individual packages was empty. I checked the box. Every package was empty. I checked the other boxes. Every box was filled with empty candy cane wrappers. I was mystified and felt like I had just stepped into the twilight zone. But a close examination of the packages showed that every one of them had a tiny hole. The light came on. Tiny sugar ants had gnawed a hole in the plastic, then slowly ate every candy cane out of every package. I was gobsmacked.

As I thought about my misfortune, I realized that there was an object lesson here. I had neglected my candy canes. I hadn’t watched over them and guarded them. So when I went to get one, the boxes were empty. This reminds me of the foolish virgins and their lamps. They hadn’t paid attention to their lamps, so when the midnight cry came, “the bridegroom is coming,” they were unprepared. They tried to trim their lamps, but they were out of oil. Frantically, they tried to find oil, but it was too late. They missed the wedding feast.

My friends, guard the treasure in your heart—your love for Jesus and His bible. If you get busy with mundane things, these little things can slowly eat away at your treasure, and you won’t notice until it is too late. This can be costly. When a trial comes and you need Christian faith and patience, you won’t have any. When a temptation comes, and you need Christian character, you won’t have any.

Eyes wide open, brain engaged, heart on fire.

Lee W. Brainard

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