Rock stars get a bad reputation for big egos and decadent lifestyles, and often for good reason. But sometimes it’s just a misunderstanding. Over the years, rock band Van Halen has been criticized over the infamous “brown M&M” clause in their contract with concert promoters. Listed among many requirements, including how they want the stage set up and safety concerns, was buried a requirement that there should be a bowl of M&Ms backstage. But not just any bowl: it had to have absolutely no brown-colored M&Ms. This clause gained the band a bad reputation, because what kind of egomaniac would make someone go through the work of picking out every brown M&M? Don’t all the colors taste the same anyway?
However, the clause had nothing to do with the band’s taste in M&M flavors or colors. In addition to all the contract terms needed to cover many “important things,” they also needed a quick and easy way to know that the workers at the arena had thoroughly read the contract. The M&Ms were that way. Because of the “brown M&M” clause, as soon as the band walked backstage, seeing the bowl of M&Ms would immediately let them know the “important things” would be covered as well.
What’s this story doing on a Christian blog? In the Bible, God describes His relationship with His people as a covenant, a form of contract, in this case between a King and His subjects. Some parts of this agreement – consider the long descriptions of the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament – may seem dull and insignificant. Much of Exodus 25-27, and most of Exodus 35-40, detail the design of the tabernacle as given by God to Moses. The collection of the materials, the work of the craftsmen in building the various parts, and finally Moses setting up the completed tabernacle are listed in seemingly repetitive and pointless detail.
However, in addition to God wanting His tabernacle set up correctly, the mere accumulation of detail also makes a point – that God cares about every single detail of His covenant with His people. Nothing is to be ignored, just like the bowl of M&Ms. But this concern for detail does not mean that He is holds every violation we commit over our head to make us feel guilty. Instead, it makes two points:
First, anything less than holiness is not good enough for God. If He accepted less, He would not be just. As one brown M&M was too much for Van Halen, or one drop of cyanide would be too much to put in our glass of water, one instance of sin is too much for God. Therefore, only Jesus, by living the perfect life, could be acceptable to God the Father. Fortunately for all of us, Jesus’ righteousness is offered to us freely. He met the standard of perfection for us.
Second, the level of detail lets us know that He cares about every detail of our lives. We can talk to Him about anything because there is nothing He is not concerned about or is not interested in hearing from us, or able to lovingly walk alongside us through. David wrote in Psalm 23:4 that:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”
The rod and staff of our Good Shepherd are not there to punish us, but to guide and lead us through every experience we have in this world, good or bad, and into the next world, where all is holy and good. His covenant with us – His contractual promise – is to be our God, and we are to be His people.
Our Father in heaven cares about every little thing. Even brown M&Ms.
4 thoughts on “Holiness is Like a Bowl of M&Ms?”
The Van Halen contractual agreement is clever and a good story to help understand God’s contractual agreement with us. Thanks, Todd.
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Well done! Thank you, Todd.
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You’re welcome – glad you liked it