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Boxes, Boxes, Boxes

By Tammy L. Hensel

My husband says we are living in “Box Canyon,” and it is really true! There are pathways through the rows of boxes like a maze throughout the house. I would like to just get one room completely unpacked and free of boxes. But as soon as I come close to clearing a space of boxes more appear. Moving is so much fun!

As I work, my mind begins to compare boxes to life. It occurs to me that each day I encounter many boxes in the form of information that affects my life. Each message I receive is sorted through my brain much like I am sorting through boxes. Sometimes I struggle with what to do with the contents of these boxes just as I have to decide where I will put the items I am unpacking.

Last year, we temporarily moved into a small rental house to give us time to look around before we bought. There was just not room for a lot of junk so we rented a storage unit. As I packed for that move, I divided everything into three categories—what I would need during that year, what was worth storing, and things to be given or thrown away. Some of the boxes I sorted through were packed many years ago, traveling with us from house to house. Was it worth continuing to store them?

As I am now unpacking in our newly purchased home, I discover that even with all my careful sorting, I still brought much that I don’t really need. Why am I hanging on to these things? They are like bad habits that I keep practicing even when I know I should rid of them. I am so grateful for the advice of my family and friends who help me, particularly my children, who are not afraid to say, “Mom, do you really use that?”

Matthew 6:19-21 says: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

This verse speaks not only to material possessions, but to the thoughts upon which we chose to dwell.

Each day I am presented with information that can be helpful or harmful to me. Each box I open may be a useful treasure or a Pandora’s box of temptations such as envy, pride, lust, etc. I must be diligent to discard those harmful messages and thoughts as soon as they occur. If I let them pile up, they will eventually take over my life. Fortunately I have a Helper who is always there to help me sort through the messages and images that assail me daily. John 16:13 is a wonderful promise:

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”

The Holy Spirit is willing to guide me in discerning wisdom and truth, but I must be willing to heed His voice.

As I follow the Spirit’s lead, I find boxes that are treasure troves of Truth containing new insights for abundant living. They must be handled carefully and placed where they will be available for daily use. If I store them away where I cannot reach them, then I will forget I ever had the information at all. Every once in a while in my unpacking, I discover something I knew I had but haven’t used in years because it was packed away. I wonder how often I do that with a truth I have learned through my own study, or especially through a sermon. It sounds so good at the time. I really want to apply it to my life. But I am too busy to deal with it just then, so I store it away for future use. It is still there in the back of my mind, but I am not using it. Then one day I am reminded of it again and think, “Oh, yeah, I meant to apply that to my life, but forgot.”

However, there are other boxes that I purposely store away in an orderly fashion so that I can find the treasures they hold just when I need them. These may include mementos, holiday decorations, special dishes, etc. They are precious to me so I want to be sure I keep them in good shape for their use. There are truths from God’s word that can become corrupted and twisted in their application if I do not keep them free from contamination by worldly philosophies. I need to store them in my mind in such as way that I will be able to remember and use them wisely when needed. And there are some truths I am not quite ready to understand, so I store them away until in His perfect timing the Spirit helps me find and open that box again to put the contents in use.

The Christmas season approaches and soon I will be unpacking my precious decorations to make my house festive for the celebration of our Lord’s birth. But will I be as diligent to communicate the true treasure of the reason for this season to those I meet? It is so easy to get caught up in celebrating Christmas without celebrating Christ! Will I focus, like Mary in Luke 10:38-42, on Christ Himself? Or will I be like Martha, more concerned with the details of the celebration than the reason for it? It is my goal to do the former, but I know my success is wrapped completely in my willingness to follow the Spirit’s lead each moment of every day.

©2007 Tammy Hensel. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

hat.jpegTammy Hensel is a part-time freelance writer for newspapers and magazines, as well as a public relations consultant for small ministries and businesses. She is a 1980 magna cum laude graduate of Baylor University in Waco, TX with a BA degree in journalism and history. She and her husband currently reside in the Bryan/College Station, TX area.

Tammy has been an active church member since giving her life to Christ in 1972 at age 14 and has served in a variety of ministry areas.. You can read more about her on her blog Dedicated Writer at http://dedicatedwriter.blogspot.com/