Stored boxes, not opened for six years, lined the walls in the garage. Boxes, stacked high on one another, filled the bottom level of the townhouse. Flattened boxes lay scattered throughout the rest of the house ready to be formed, taped, and packed with valuable possessions. Boxes, boxes, boxes everywhere–just cardboard containers in various shapes and sizes.
Oh, the woes of moving when boxes become the central focus in one’s life. My husband and I had collected boxes and stored them for months anticipating our move into a new home. As the move date came closer, my life felt like it was on hold within the growing mounds of boxes. Even up to the last day, I was filling boxes. Would the boxes ever disappear?
Moving day came and went with its own set of trials, but the boxes had transported worldly possessions that we deemed important. In the new environment, the boxes seemed to shout, “Open me, open me, you need what I have.” I did not want to look at boxes…let alone figure out where to put specific contents. However, everyday necessities soon determined that certain boxes had to be opened. That’s when subtle messages began emerging.
Boxes with personal needs carried motivating messages of TRUTH. One such message came through loud and clear, “These toiletry items and cleaning supplies need to find their appropriate spots.” I still desired cleanliness to be a priority. More words of advice from a vast number of boxes, “These kitchen dishes, pans and utensils must be accessible.” I still needed to make healthy choices with food. Then the perceptive message of reason: “Here’s the novel you were reading. Sit down and put your feet up!” Moving had been exhausting; unpacking was not to happen in a day. Boxes filled with essentials held TRUTH messages I needed to hear.
The process continued at a slower pace over the next few days and weeks. Certain boxes forced me to QUESTION the contents—sentimental “stuff” whose value had weathered away or “objects” that now seemed impractical and senseless. QUESTIONS flooded my mind: Why did I pack that away six years ago? I actually moved this thing across town to now give it to Goodwill? What did I see of importance in that book? Why did I keep this piece of junk? Messages aroused from the answers proved challenging yet inspired me to face the future, release the past and eliminate more “stuff.” Move forward because “That was then, this is now.” Unpacking was becoming a thought-provoking venture.
Boxes filled with SURPRISE messaging held childhood and family memorabilia–hidden gems precious in remembering family gatherings, outcomes that made a difference, reminders of the blessings that God has given to us individually and to our family. The messages proclaimed loud and clear that leaving a godly legacy is so important for the next generation. Loving family, building strong relationships, and honoring God each day is worthy…even with countless SURPRISES along the way.
Boxes…bearers of worthy messages…absurd you could say. After all, their cardboard shapes are quickly collapsed after transporting the goods. I concluded there must be more to boxes than ordinary cardboard…even the worn, tattered boxes that held objects for six long years. Their usefulness had proved vital; they held up to their task.
But aren’t we as individuals, who are much more valuable and lasting than cardboard boxes, supposed to be instruments that God can use to help transport His message? True, we are not boxes, but individually we come in many shapes and sizes…with bulging curves at times. We can bend and even collapse with too many burdens that weigh us down. At times, we try to keep hidden the contents of what we carry inside—the hurting, the doubts, the grief. Some of us become good at performing as we try to please others…disguising the truth we desire to communicate. Maybe pride keeps us from sharing who we are meant to be. Others of us just feel empty…waiting to be filled with purpose. What messages do you convey?
God desires for each one of us to be an instrument to carry His message of love, hope, and peace. He likes nothing more than for our hearts to be packed full of His goodness and grace. What’s more, He provides the way for each one of us to be packed uniquely and efficiently.
“8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2: 8-10
As I was writing this, an old hymn came to mind. “Take My Life and Let it Be” was written by Francs Ridley Havergal in 1874. The words are as pertinent today as they were then. They give understanding on how to be filled and used by God. The process means taking action; a choice we make individually. Accepting the Lord’s grace through salvation is the first step. Daily relinquishing our lives to the Lord so that we may serve Him and transport His message effectively becomes the real challenge.
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
In order for God to truly use us, He desires all of us—even the contents within our hearts we try to hoard or the thoughts in our minds that we keep as sacred. The goodness that the Lord has to fill us with needs room to grow. Yes, He wants every part so that His message will be so evident through your life and mine that others see and hear it loud and clear. God not only wants you; He wants to use your hands and feet, your voice and lips, your silver and gold, your will and your love. He wants to fill each part of you. He wants His message to be reflected in all you do and say. Your role—willingness to give it up to God.
Opening our hearts and minds is not a one-time deal. It is a daily process, and it can be difficult at times. We allow the good, bad and the ugly to get packed away deep inside. God’s desire is that we permit Him to unpack what we hold dear–whether it’s something virtuous or harmful–and allow Him to fill us anew. He will pack every part of you to overflowing with His love and His grace. God’s message will be so prevalent that you can’t help but share.
After all, His mercies are new each day. What a huge promise–He gives us what we need each and every day and not before. There is no reason to keep things packed inside all protected and secure. Use your talents for His purpose, share His message through deeds of kindness, and shine your light today in your corner of the world.
Opening boxes actually became an adventure for me. Opening my heart to God is also an adventure…a holy one, leading to TRUTH. Being an instrument for God is humbling, sometimes raising more QUESTIONS than answers but filled with unexpected SURPRISES along the way.
The next time you unpack a box, be reminded that you are filled with messages others need to hear. God’s desire is for you to delight in sharing His Story that’s living in you.