What’s In Your Box?
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
At the store, a father gave his son an empty box and said, “Son, you can have anything you want, but you can have only one thing. Make a good choice.” In a sense, God gives each of us the same opportunity. A million things compete for our affections and our attention, but only one can be on the throne of our hearts.
All these things make promises. Some promise to give us pleasure, some promise to thrill, and some promise to help us escape pain. We hear voices whispering or shouting these promises all the time. Conversations at work, ads on television and billboards, chats with friends, and all other forms of communication promise to fulfill our dreams. All these things are like competing hawkers at a flea market, trying to convince us to come to their tent to buy what they’re selling.
But we can choose only one thing to put in our box.
Amid the din of all these voices, we have to listen hard to hear another voice that says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”(John 14:6) and offers us an adventure and an abundant life- if we allow this thing in our box.
What are you putting in your box?
Whatever you choose to serve becomes that which you worship.
As we read the Christmas story we find Joseph and Mary arriving in Bethlehem. There’s no doubt that this little town is overflowing as it’s citizens, no matter where they currently lived, had to make the journey home to register. As Mary and Joseph came to the inn(motel) and asked for a room, the innkeeper replied, “Sorry, we have no vacancies.” Noting that Mary was pregnant, he kindly pointed them to the stable. At least they would be out of the weather. When we read that story sometimes we have harsh judgement toward the innkeeper. We wonder how anyone could be so uncaring. We know what he didn’t know, that he had no room for God.
That brings us now to the application of our devotion today. Ziglar asks a great question: “What’s in your box? “ What is it that you fill your life with? Oh how easy it is to fill up our lives with all kinds of things for the world certainly offers a wide variety. Like the innkeeper, we may invite so many “guests” into our lives and heart that when Christ comes there’s no room for Him. Oh we’d like to have room for Him. We like to have time to spend with Him. We know it would be beneficial if we took time to talk with Him(pray) or listen to Him(reading the Bible). We know it’s beneficial to spend time with His family(the church) but we’ve got so much to do and so many other things to occupy our time that there really isn’t any room left.
We don’t know how many mansions or rooms that heaven currently has. And I’m sure that they are all filled. And you may say, “What about me? Will I have a room?” The answer is yes. Jesus said to us in John 14 that He was going away (leaving earth) and He was going to get ready for us to join Him (prepare a place so that we could be with Him). Heaven continues to expand as God creates more space every time someone is born again. Like a good Father, He keeps adding rooms to the family home to accommodate every child that is born.
We are finite beings in our current state. We only have limited time and limited space in our lives. As we approach the New Year in light of all that’s happening around us, don’t you think it might be a good idea to look at your life and it’s priorities. My observation over the years is that we find time for what we value. We make room for what we want. We go and do and have what we want and if we find ourselves too busy for our new desire, we’ll set aside some things and some time to enjoy that new delight. We all have a box with limitations. What we put in that box is critical. It very well can mean the difference between life and death- that is eternal life or eternal death.
Christians in particular ought to think hard about what they put in their box. We all are subjected to the glamorous offerings of the world. We are pressured to fit in, to occupy ourselves with all the things our non-Christian friends are filling their lives with. We go and spend and entertain and seek pleasure only to find we’re still unsatisfied and unfulfilled. We pressure our kids or allow our kids to be pressured into engaging in every possible extracurricular activity for the sake of qualifying for a good college or being a success in life. All the time our souls are lean, undernourished and sick. No wonder we are distressed and depressed. The innkeeper filled his rooms with paying guests that was going to give him a financial windfall. But I bet that none of that filled his heart with peace and all the while the Prince of Peace was right outside his door. I wonder what would have happened had he made room. I think he might have seen the angels worship and the Christ child was born. Perhaps his load would have been lifted and his joy renewed.
Jesus gave us a lesson about priorities. He said that if we would choose to seek the kingdom of God first- make our relationship with God and His Body-the church, that He would make sure that we had everything thing else we needed.
So this Christmas, open your box. See what you have filled it with. Ask yourself how valuable all that stuff really is in view of eternity. You may just want to unpack that box and fill it with something new, something better, something eternal.
Dr. John Thompson