“Piñata”: The Spanish Word for “Contusion”?




A few years back I was in charge of planning some kid’s games for a big event at my church. One day, I was discussing my plans with the well-seasoned church youth pastor and mentioned that I was going to have a piñata at the event. The youth pastor’s face immediately went ashen and his sickened expression resembled that of a man who has just realized that he’s backed his car over the beloved family pet. He kindly, yet firmly, said, “You don’t want to do that!” He then added, “Look, over the years I’ve been a part of many, many youth functions that included a piñata and I’ve never seen a single one that came to a good end.” He didn’t elaborate on the matter any further, and I quickly scratched the idea off my list.

I never did hear what kind of piñata massacre had scarred the youth pastor so deeply, but it’s not hard to imagine that such a game could come to a bad end in a hurry. I mean, if you think about it, the game usually proceeds like this:

You get a bunch of kids hopped up on cake & ice cream (since there’s usually a party involved). You cover their eyes so they can’t see. You give them something really hard (and lethal) like a broom handle or baseball bat. Then – just to make sure that they swing extra hard & wildly – you let them know that the piñata is full of mouth-watering candy.

You end up with a blind, carbo-loaded kid swinging a sizeable piece of lumber like a Viking on steroids swinging a battle axe. What could possibly go wrong?

So, what initially appears to be a harmless game full of good times ends ups being a source of great danger with tons of collateral damage.

This is what life is like when we reject God’s guidance and determine to go our own way. People are wonderfully made, full of talent, strength & energy of various levels. In other words, we’re like kids hopped up on sugar with more power than we know what to do with. Now that’s not a bad thing when our “eyes” are open and we have God guiding us in the proper ways to use all our talent, strength & energy. In fact, the results can be amazing. However, when we turn from God and follow our own “wisdom” & desires, it’s like having a handkerchief put over our eyes. We become like blind children, swinging wildly, thinking to ourselves “If I can just get the ‘candy’ (whatever my heart happens to desire) then I’ll be happy and life will be good.” Meanwhile, everyone around us gets damaged in our blind, selfish melee, and, in the end, we find that the “candy” only gives us a stomach ache rather than the joy & happiness we were expecting.

“You [God] have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”


Eron Elswick

Worship – Grow – Serve


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