All New Orleans Mardi Gras parades have one thing in common: Giving and receiving. It’s all about the beads.
The float riders have only one thing to do: throw stuff to the clamoring crowd. Stuff like plastic drink cups, stuffed animals, frisbees, nerf footballs, bracelets, but most of all—beads. Brightly colored, pearl-like strings that sparkle in the sunlight by day or the “flambeaux” by night.
And the parade-goers have just one goal: catching that stuff. Everyone, from tiny child to octegenarian, raises hands, looks up toward the masked riders, and shouts, “Throw me somethin’ Mister!!!”
I have been to eight parades this week. Nothing compares to the Mardi Gras parade experience. Catching beads and cups mid-air, hearing the clatter of doubloons falling to the street as if real money were being tossed, or seeing a dad hoist his 4 yr old onto his shoulders yet again as he walks expectantly toward the float. Pure joy. Everyone laughs. Everyone gets stuff. Everyone goes home with their necks laden with dozens of Made in China necklaces, only to pile them in the corner, and eventually stash them in the attic until next year.
God wants to give us so much more than plastic trinkets.
Oh what He might shower on us if we could keep that Mardi Gras intensity and lift our hands toward Him. Bless me, Father! Bless me!
When Jacob wrestled with God, he demanded a blessing. And he got one. His name was changed, God showed Jacob he was with him. And when a guy named Jabez cried out to God, “Oh, that you would bless me indeed,” God granted his request, too.I am sure that God is like the one person you know who is riding in the parade– the person for whom you hold up a sign, knowing which float he or she is on, (and which side)–the person who, when you are right there, dips into his bag and dumps more stuff than you can carry into your waiting arms, making you feel special, really special.
“Test me in this, God says, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have enough room for it.”
God wants to bless you and me; He is just waiting for us to ask. We are special to him. Get some of that Joy. Ask for it now.
This year I had one other thought: If we could be as generous with our love and money as we are with beads and trinkets at Mardi Gras, what a lovely world it would be.