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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)

TITLE: Luggage Larry
By Shelley Snyder


Pastor Jim Parker finished replacing the last of the hymn books on the pews and noticed something odd at the front of the sanctuary. Tentatively, he walked forward to examine it. It was an old brown beat-up suitcase, and he immediately recognized it as belonging to “Luggage” Larry. What on earth is that doing here; and where was Larry? He was never seen without this suitcase!

As he drew closer, Jim could see a small piece of paper lying on top. He bent down to retrieve it. A single line of messy handwriting revealed the message. “This is for you Jesus. I don’t want it anymore.”

Abandoning all caution, Jim opened the suitcase. Hundreds of notebooks and scraps of paper filled it to overflowing. He took the top notebook and flipped through it, reading several entries here and there. With a puzzled look on his face, he repeated the process several times.

As Jim rifled through the contents of the suitcase, two uniformed policemen entered the small church, and proceeded to walk up the aisle. Jim stood to greet them. “Hello officers, what can I do for you?”

“Are you James Parker? Pastor James Parker?” The larger of the two officers asked.

“Yes.” Jim wondered what they could want.

“Are you acquainted with a homeless man named Larry? Also known as Luggage Larry.” The shorter officer read the name from his notepad.

“Yes. Larry visits the soup kitchen I run on Baker Street. He comes here now and then as well. He is a troubled man and we talk about Jesus, and how He could help ease Larry’s troubles.” Jim was curious now. What was going on?

“Larry was found dead this morning in the alley behind your soup kitchen.” It was the first officer again. Jim looked at him and could see indifference on his face. Larry was just another statistic to them.

“How did you know to come here?” Jim had to sit down again. He couldn’t believe that Larry was dead. He had just spoken to him the day before. Larry had been more worried than normal and he had seemed weaker, but Jim had figured Larry was just feeling a little ill.

The two policemen remained standing. The larger man unfolded two pieces of paper that he was holding. “He was clutching a small black suitcase to his chest, and he was holding this church bulletin containing your name and address in one hand.” He passed it to Jim to examine.

“Yes, this is from our church. We hand them out every week.” Jim examined the bulletin. Scrawled on the back was identical handwriting to that on the note, as well as that which filled the notebooks and scraps of paper.

“We opened the suitcase he was holding, and all that was inside was a note, a stupid note. Don’t know why he was holding on to that; doesn’t make sense to me. It was some verse from the Bible.” The smaller officer rolled his eyes.

The larger officer handed the second piece of paper to Jim to read.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30, NASB)

Jim smiled. Now he understood why Larry had left his suitcase in the church. He looked up and as he had suspected, Larry had placed it at the foot of the cross. The suitcase contained every single worry, fear and burden that Larry had had over the years. He had documented them and carried them around with him for so long, unable to let go.

The symbolic act of placing his overflowing suitcase at the foot of the cross had meant that Larry had finally let go of the great weight. He had given it all to Jesus! Unfortunately, Larry hadn’t learned this earlier on so that he could have lived his life without worry, and let Jesus take care of his problems. However, Jim was thankful that Larry had died knowing Jesus as his Saviour.

Jim smiled again. “Let me tell you about Larry and his symbolic act.” He said to the two men. As he said a silent prayer that the Lord would touch these men and plant seeds for the Kingdom, he began his story.

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This article has been read 1226 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sandra Petersen 08/22/05
I won't forget the lesson of Luggage Larry. The story flowed nicely.
Shonnah McGrew08/24/05
Jan Ackerson 08/26/05
Very nicely done, better than beginner's level.
Theresa Kissinger08/27/05
This was very good, drew me in from the title to the victorious ending.
Donnah Cole08/27/05
This story is sweet and touching. It's easy to visualize the events. It flows nicely. Great job!
Julianne Jones08/27/05
This was very well done. A creative story with a great message. Thanks for sharing.
darlene hight08/28/05
Very nice entry with a good message. I especially liked the idea of all of his fears,worries etc. being in the suitcase. Great analogy.
Tammy Johnson08/28/05
Nice writing and nice message. Really enjoyed the read.
Marie Gabbard08/29/05
This brought tears to my eyes. How often even we Christians carry around that suitcase. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.
Nina Phillips08/29/05
I love that story, how prescious. How wonderful when the word of God reaches into our hearts and sees our every need. Congratulations! Awesome..God bless ya, littlelight
Shari Armstrong 08/29/05
I didn't get to read this until after the winners were posted - well deserved!!!
Crista Darr08/29/05
A truly wonderful and well written story! Congratulations!
M'Kayla Kelly08/29/05
Congratulations on 1st Place! This is a great story and I loved the touch of hope for the lost at the end. Blessings!
Alexandra Wilkin08/30/05
What a lovely story - really drew me in. God bless and congratulations! love and light
Katherine Douglas08/31/05
what a wonderful story, I also had tears welling in my eyes, and thats not an easy thing to get me to do. Congratulations
Deborah Porter 09/01/05
Shelley, congratulations on your win in both the Level 1 awards as well as in the Editors' Choice - no small feat for a "beginner." So now it's time for you to move up to Level 2. Well done! With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Dorothy Purge09/01/05
A very touching story.I'm really moved by it.
Amy Michelle Wiley 03/15/06
Shelley, I really enjoyed this story. Well done!

Could you contact me via PM (you can send me one even if you do not subscribe)? I am working on a special project and would like your help. Thanks!--Amy
samuel saalwaechter 05/18/06
Melonie Hixon10/06/06
Great use of symbolism!