A middle-aged man stood looking in the mirror. The reflection looking back at him was that of a much older man with thinning gray hair. His bent, crippled shoulder made it impossible for him to straighten his back. The man in the mirror reminded him of a house of cards stacked tall, and just waiting for the next card to bring the whole thing down. He longed to see the carefree boy, or the strong robust young man, who once lived inside this frame. Where did he go?
As a child he had been happy go lucky only seeking the pleasure of life. When he reached his teens, he had gotten a small carry-on bag. It was filled with “Will we win the big game?”, “Can I get a girlfriend?”, “Should I go to college or get a job?”, “How do I keep my parents off my back?”.
The bag became cramped and, in time, he had added a suitcase. It was filled with “Will I get in to the right college?”, “Is this the girl?” “Am I ready to be a husband, hold a job, and give up my freedom?”.
Shortly after that he had added another bag, this time filled with “Does my boss like me?”, “Will I get that next big promotion?”, “Am I networking with all the right people to get noticed?” and “Am I respected?”.
When his wife announced the blessed news that they were having their first child, the husband had gone out and bought the jumbo size suitcase. He filled it with, “Am I ready to be a father?” “Do I even know how?”, “We need a house, how will I pay for it?”, “Schools are expense, how can I pay for it?”, “What if something happens to me, or the baby gets sick?”, “Will my wife still love me and have time for me once the baby here?”. He had to force it closed, but he finally got all the “Why’s, What if’s, and How’s” inside it. They were threatening to jump out. Maybe he needed to get just one more bag.
As the years rolled a long, he kept accumulating more and more baggage. What he could easily carry in his youth now weighted him down. He felt as if he were crushing beneath its weight; his shoulders were unable to stand strong against its load. No longer could he run and play, but instead hobbled slowly straining to take each step. He had briefly thought of just running away from the life, the wife and kids, and starting over, but he was no coward.
Despair had brought him to his knees, and the beaten man cried out for help. The next day he ran into an old friend. He did not recognize the man at first for his friend was strong and full of joy. This friend had at one time looked worse than he had and he begged to know what made the difference. His friend told him to climb to the top of Calvary’s hill, that there was a man underneath an old rugged tree that was buying old luggage. He must have lost his mind, for the more garbage that was in the luggage the more he paid. The old man was not quite sure he believed, but he was desperate. He had tried everything else. What did he have to lose?
His friend told him how invigorating and liberating the experience had been. His whole life was changed because of the baggage redeemer. Then his friend warned him to be careful. He said he knew it was crazy, but he had actually missed his bags, tried to go back and reclaim a few. They had been with him so long; he had to learn all over again how to live without them.
The old man had gotten up early and started up the hill. He met others come down from the hill. Some were running, singing and dancing; some were hiding afraid that they might run into someone they knew; some were hanging on to their baggage as if their life depended on it, while shouting, “Mine, Mine.”; and some cried out, “Not today, maybe tomorrow.” Many others were ahead of him, heading up the hill and he rushed ahead, as fast as his feeble legs and back would carry him. He had to get there before the buyer refused to take any more baggage. He needed someone to save him from himself. Its cost was more than he could pay and live.
Before the old broken dying man ever saw the baggage buyer, he saw suitcases- one on top of the other- reaching almost to heaven’s door. At the top of the hill was a man dressed in clean, crisp, pure white robes. His face seemed to shine bright as the sun. The buyer had holes in his hands and feet. The old man wondered if worry had eaten a hole in them.
The baggage redeemer said, “No, they were mark of love.” Then smiled at me and said, “Come My child, I have been looking for you. You have carried that burden way too long. I am here to take it off your hands; you were never meant to carry it alone.”
I too smiled, for I was not too late.
“Sit over here in my shadow; beside the river of peace. Release all your sorrows here and let my waters of love wash them away. There is bread of life to eat and the wine of everlasting mercy to refresh you trouble souls, just waiting for you on the banks of its shore. Rest in it pastures cool and green. Renew your anxious mind; I will keep watch over you. When you are ready to leave, drink heartily from my cup of joy, for it will heal your body and your soul. But come to me before you go and I will pour out my oil of blessing on you, until you can hold no more. They will not cause you any troubles.”
The old man left that hill a changed man, a new creation. His body revived and restored. He had power and hope. This new man knew that could face today and tomorrow, because he had been set free. The grace of the baggage buyer would be enough to see him through it. The master’s hands and heart had so filled him that he started looking for others to tell, about the wonders and awesome baggage buyer named Jesus Christ.