It’s What’s On the Inside that Counts

Today’s Truth
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV).

Friend To Friend
My husband, son, and I had traveled to Cancun, Mexico for a vacation.  It was fun family time, but the trip home was grueling.  The airport was full of hot, sweaty, smelly vacationers anxious to return home.  Unfortunately, because of various delays, the flight was rescheduled for a later time.  Filled to capacity, the darkness of the night could not hide the fact that the aircraft was old, dirty, and decrepit.  It didn’t matter that the flight crew spoke little English, because the plane was so loud that we couldn’t hear what was said anyway.  My son kept insisting, “Mom, when we walked by the plane to get on, I saw duct tape on the left rear wing!”  When the flight attendant demonstrated the emergency procedures, we all paid very close attention.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I ever remember seeing such an attentive group of passengers.

After we were finally airborne, the flight attendant announced that because of flight delays, the Charlotte customs office, our final destination, would be closed when we arrived.  So we had to stop over in Florida to go through US customs.

At midnight, ninety hot, tired, disgruntled passengers disembarked, checked their carryon bags through customs, picked up their luggage at the baggage claim, checked it through customs, and then returned to board the same rickety plane.  This didn’t sound too complicated, except for one problem: one of our suitcases, containing my husband and son’s dirty clothes, did not make it to baggage claim.  It was missing, probably somewhere back in Mexico.  We were a little upset, but filled out the necessary claim form for lost luggage, hoping for the best.  After all, it was only clothes, and dirty ones at that.

The next day as he settled down for some quiet time with the Lord, my husband reached for his Bible.  But it was nowhere to be found.

“Honey, have you seen my Bible?” he asked.  “I can’t find it anywhere!”  As soon as he finished his sentence, he remembered where he had put it.  His Bible was in the lost suitcase with all the dirty clothes.  Suddenly, the suitcase was no longer unimportant.  This was the Bible that I had given to him on our honeymoon years earlier, the Bible that I had rebound on our tenth anniversary, the Bible with study notes written on every page. We began to pray.  We called and asked others to pray.  We had to get that suitcase back!

As I spoke to the Lord about the suitcase, He spoke to my heart.  Isn’t it amazing how the realization of what was inside the suitcase changed its value?  So it is with My people.  You may look at someone and see only filthy rags, but I see a beautiful creation and a possible dwelling place for My Son, and that makes them valuable.

Never again will I look at the dirty and downtrodden the same way.  I realized that day that each person has great value as a possible container of something — Someone — very special, Jesus Christ, God’s own Son.  He stands at the doors of many who, in our eyes may appear as lost luggage, filled with filthy rags.  But now when I see such a person, I try to imagine, as though I had X-ray vision, a little black Bible hidden somewhere among the clutter, and I can see them as my Heavenly Father sees them –valuable, dearly loved, and precious.

Let’s Pray
Dear Father, help me to remember that beautiful treasures are often contained in most unlikely packages.  Help me to view each person in my world as God sees them –as a possible conduit for the Holy Spirit created by God.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Do you enjoy collecting jewelry or other small items of great value?  You can turn each one of these personal treasures into a prayer and ministry opportunity.  You will need the following:

5-10 of your favorite valuables; and a safe place to put them, yet visible so you don’t forget that they have a purpose for this activity.

5-10 names of people you have a desire to begin seeing as God’s treasures.  These may be people that have not accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.  They may be people who do know Christ, yet you have a difficult time loving or viewing as valuable to God.  There may also be someone you know who has a difficult time loving themselves or seeing their life with value and purpose.

A pen or pencil

A pad of small-sized sticky notes

Write the name of each person, separately, on a sticky-note or label tab.

Then place each sticky-note/label tab on a separate valuable.

Place the valuables where you will see them daily, and commit to pray for each person listed on each object accordingly.

16 Responses to It’s What’s On the Inside that Counts

  1. Lisa Lloyd July 27, 2009 at 11:27 am #

    I am so glad that you got the Bible back! even the dirty clothes:). I work in a pregnancy resource center and I know personally about seeing the outside and making a “quick judgement” about someone. Working with the women that come through our doors has really opened my eyes to whom Christ loves…everyone. He will meet you where ever you are.

    Thank you. and blessings!

    Smiles,

    Lisa

  2. Catherine July 27, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    I hope for your husband’s sake that the luggage is found. If it is not, then maybe the person that has the Bible needed it more? God has his ways, and as you know they are not always ours. Thanks for sharing this story, please keep us posted as to its outcome.

  3. CAROLYN HENDERSON July 27, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    LOVED the devotional today. . . we need to remember that it’s what’s on the inside that matters, but we get so caught up in our “line of vision”. .. .THanks.

  4. deltagirl1980 July 27, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    This is exactly what God has been laying on my heart. I pray that God really helps me to see people thru his eyes.

  5. Sheri Parker July 27, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

    Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you;
    the mighty One will save you.
    He will rejoice over you.
    You will rest in his love;
    he will sing and be joyful about you.”
    God loves each of us so much that He will sing over us and be joyful. Thanks for the confirmation.

  6. Wendy T. July 27, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    Praise Jesus for prayer – unanswered and answered!!
    He is a loving giving Lord and Saviour a precious gift and He thinks of us that way as well and I LOVE that.
    Thank you so very much for going and doing what God has asked of you.

  7. Paula Wilson July 27, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

    I will be giving the devotional at our local homeless sheler in a couple of weeks. Your artical about the lost suitcase is perfect. Thanks.

  8. Paula Wilson July 27, 2009 at 1:43 pm #

    The devotional about the empty suitcase, will be very meaningful at the homeless shelter I visit.

  9. Ellie July 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm #

    I work at a school and it is sometimes hard to see parents in a good way when you know how they are treating their children. This devotion has given me a new way of looking at them. It also made me realize that I need to pray for them as well as the children. The parents are vessels as well and one person could help them change their lives into what God wants them to be. There is so much negativity at times and I believe that this devotion was telling me to look at the positive or at what could be if Jesus could enter their lives! Thank you for helping God to open my eyes to what is possible!

  10. Esther July 27, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

    This devotional has touched me to try and see good in my husband who I am currently seperated from and considering divorcing because of how badly he has treated me and our kids. I pray I will begin to see him the way God does. Thanks Sharon.

  11. Catherine July 27, 2009 at 10:18 pm #

    I really like today devotional. It helped me to see the empty suitcase and the important people in my life. Today at work during lunch I made a list, It was easy to see what matters in life and who I really care for. Thank you for all you do in God’s name.

  12. Char .H July 28, 2009 at 3:15 am #

    I too am glad you got your Bible back! I love the devotionals because they keep my focus on what’s really important. Also, I love having a resourse to send to friends! Thank you and blessings be with you!

  13. Dawn August 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

    Sharon,

    I had to let you know how timely and needed your devotion was today. One of the members at the church where I am employed is mentally ill and recently homeless. She comes to the church daily seeking food and shelter but is very solitary. The pastors and professionals have instructed the staff to redirect her to social services and limit her access to the building. We have all been struggling to find a compassionate way to handle this. Today’s devotion was such a blessing. Thank you.

    Dawn Anderson

  14. Sherry August 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    “Let me see this world, dear Lord,
    as though I were looking through your eyes.
    A world of men who don’t want you, Lord,
    but a world for which you died.
    Let me kneel with you in the garden.
    Blur my eyes with tears of agony.
    For if once, I could see this world the way you see,
    I just know I’d serve you more faithfully”

    Let me see this world, dear Lord,
    through Your eyes when men mock your Holy Name.
    When they beat You and spat upon You, Lord,
    Let me love them as You loved them just the same.
    Let me stand high above my petty problems,
    And grieve for men, hell bound eternally:
    For if once I could see this world the way You see
    I just know I’d serve you more faithfully.

    May you have a blessed day!!!!!!!!!!
    Sherry Yeater

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