Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)
By Carol Adams
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What kind of luggage do you have? They come in all sorts of sizes, types and uses. Luggage of any type has one main function and that is to carry clothes and articles to our destination. Luggage is normally seen as a: suitcase, carry-on, baggage, trunk, tote bag, or a valise; but it can be any type of a container, box, can, carton, jar, or jug.
Years ago, I worked in the Stewardship Department of Back to the Bible Broadcast. One particular day, we had a call from the front desk saying that there was a man who wanted to talk to our department. [Our particular office handled gifts for annuities and stewardship giving.] They mentioned that this situation was very unique. When he was ushered into our office, we immediately understood why the word, unique, was used. He was a little old hobo and his odor preceded him. He reeked of stench. He lived in the streets. He never took a bath, slept in dirty, filthy clothes and he was offensive. All of our five senses were filled with amazement at this little old man.
He carried all of his life’s belongings in a little bag slung around his shoulders. As we stood in awe, he pulled out his treasures. There was an equally dirty shirt, one
pair of socks, underwear, and an old oatmeal cylinder. Why an oatmeal tub, we wondered? As we watched, he gently and tenderly opened up the tub and immediately the room filled with the scent of oatmeal – rotten oatmeal!
It was filled to the brim. He put his grubby filthy hand in the tub and as he did, cooked oatmeal gushed up and around his hand as it fell onto the desk. The smell was horrific. This little hobo was oblivious to our disgust. Finally, after swirling his hand in the can, he finds what he is digging for. Wrapped in plastic, covered in cooked oatmeal was his little treasure.
Now picture this image. What could be so interesting in a tub of cooked oatmeal? Everything about this little man was despicable. His teeth, what was left of them, were
rotten, his hair were like dreadlocks we see today, an old tattered coat, three articles of clothing he wore to stay warm, boots, a oatmeal can, were all he had in a bag slung around his shoulder.
How long had he carried this? It was, for sure, the safest place he knew to carry his precious cargo. As the plastic came off, there wrapped up in its crispness were ten one thousand bills.
All of us had a million questions, and the two that formed on our lips after this little hobo left was “Why?” “How?” Nevertheless, God used a little filthy man to give a gift of $10,000. I Corinthians 1:27-29 points this out clearly: “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him” [NIV].
Though we all had trouble understanding the whys and wherefores of this scene, we all knew that God used this man to teach us all a lesson. When Jesus sent out his disciples he gave them authority to preach and heal, and He gave them these instructions, “…As you go, preach the message: The kingdom of heaven is near… Freely you have received, freely give. Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep” [Matthew 10:5-10 NIV].
Though this little hobo was a simple man, lived poorly and was a true outcast amongst men, God used him powerfully at Back to the Bible and in the many lives he touched with his luggage that day. The message could not have been more clearer. He uses all types of people to accomplish His purposes through different types of luggage.
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