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  • Writer's pictureMark


Most people have probably heard the story about the bowl of M&Ms. Some rock bands have a “rider” (technical and personal requirements) that listed a bowl of M&Ms as one of their weirder demands. Maybe it’s that they’re all green, all blue, or maybe with no green or no blue. For years that “rider” was used to portray entertainers having fetishes that make no sense.

Word eventually spread that it was the road managers who were inserting that “rider” into the contracts to check how detail oriented the venue would be. The issue was made famous by David Lee Roth. When Van Halen arrived at a venue there was no bowl of M&Ms, much less the exclusively brown ones.

The contract specified the stage be able to support a certain amount of weight, and wasn’t able to handle the equipment the band brought with them. The stage collapsed, causing $80,000 of damage. Roth flew into a rage, and the resulting damage totaled another $20,000. Newspapers touted that the band had caused $100,000 of damage because they didn’t get a bowl of brown M&Ms.

People can argue the point of “was it all brown or NO brown M&Ms” as much as they want, but the principle is the same. Put some easy-to-verify detail into the contract and you can tell if venue managers have read every paragraph. If there are pyrotechnics involved in a concert, a bowl of brown M&Ms might be the difference between life and death.

I’ve been reading through Ezekiel. There’s chapter after chapter of God revealing how He wants His temple built. The alter has to be “this” tall, there needs to be “that” many steps up to the alter described, and detail after detail about how things should be put together.

I’d kind of wondered, “What difference does it make? God can be glorified in any temple, with any devotion, why does it matter?” That’s when I recalled the story of M&Ms.

If someone cares enough about God to follow such minute descriptions, he’s showing God, himself, and everyone else, what God means to him (or her). The first commandment says we shouldn’t have any other God before Him. That means He gets the best of everything we have. The ancient Hebrews had to sacrifice the best of their herds to God.

SIDEBAR: That’s back when a lot of cultures sacrificed their firstborn son to their gods. God let the Hebrews “buy back” (or redeem) that son by sacrificing the best animal available instead. Just so you know it’s not a lust for blood that God made that requirement, but instead it was an act of mercy.

Through the centuries there have been various expressions of M&Ms in worship. Sometimes it’s dressing up in the finest clothing, other times people would take their weekly bath Saturday night so they’d be as clean as possible on Sunday morning. Whatever the expression, we’re to bring our best to God.

That’s what sacrifices are all about. Cain brought some grain from his storehouse, while Able picked the best animal he had. Some people write their first check after getting paid. The First (or best) part of what they have.

The next time you wonder why God asks for something that seems odd, one thing that might help is to think about a bowl of green M&Ms. It might keep the stage from collapsing under your feet.

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