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no brown M&M's

By Debbie Wright | 28 September 2012 | Comments (2)


We are used to hearing the outlandish demands and exacting requests of pop divas in their contracts with concert promoters, but by far the most notorious came from the American hard rock band, Van Halen.  Legend had it that Van Halen insisted that ‘a bowl of M&M’s were to be provided back stage, but with every single brown M&M removed’.  If the band arrived and saw any brown M&M’s they were free to cancel the concert and receive full payment.  Who would have thought that a bunch of hard rockers could be such divas?

But wait….

The legendary ‘no brown M&M’s’ contract clause was indeed real and for good reason. Lead singer David Lee Roth explains: ‘Van Halen was the first band to tour the States with a huge production team. We’d pull up with nine artic trucks full of gear, where the standard was three.  And there were many, many technical errors, whether it was the girders couldn’t support the weight and the stage floor would sink in, or the doors weren’t big enough to move the gear through. The contract read like a Chinese Yellow Pages because there was so much equipment and so many human beings to make it function.  So just as a little test, buried somewhere in the middle of the contract would be Article 126, the no-brown-M&M clause.  So when I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl – we would have to check the entire production. Guaranteed there would be a technical error which could destroy the whole show or in fact be life threatening.’

How funny that Van Halen’s ridiculous-at-first glance contract demand illustrates so well Luke 16:10:

‘Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.’

Luke goes on to say that:

‘…if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?’

Going the ‘extra mile’ is just as much about the little things as it is the larger challenges. The secret is in the careful, conscientious attention to detail; to moments, to passing comments, to split second decisions.  If God can trust us with ‘little’, he will ultimately entrust us with ‘much.’ Ultimately the ‘much’ is not about money or contracts; true riches are people. People's lives and people’s eternities are what God is entrusting us with.


The generosity challenge:

Be stubborn, this month. Find your 'no brown M&M's' equivalent - the golden standard to which you hold your generosity efforts - and be satisfied with nothing less. Take time to consider the things in your life you might be tempted to regard as 'little', and do an audit: are you taking care over them? If not, ask yourself (and God) how you might change your attitude to your responsibilities.


image by Dawn Huczek. Used under Creative Commons Licence

Posted by Debbie Wright

Debbie Wright is Stewardship’s Head of Content and is passionate about generosity in all its guises. Besides occasional blogging and tweeting she creates resources and campaigns such as 40acts and Advent Wonder to inspire, engage and motivate the wider Christian community. Prior to joining, Debbie worked for A Rocha UK as editor of their national magazine and in a previous life worked as a TV producer/director for the BBC for 17 years.  Debbie is married to Graham; they have 4 daughters and a springer spaniel.  When not acting as taxi driver, she can be found on a salsa dance floor. Follow Debbie on Twitter @debwright99



October 2, 2012 7:17 AM
Well, I never. What a great illustration. Thanks x

Alan Jenner

October 3, 2012 10:14 PM
That is absolutely stunningly brilliant. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. A parable from and for modern times.

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