What’s in Your Wallet?
From Spring 2013 “Anglican Digest”
The world says. “The more you take – the more you have…” Christ says, “The more you give – the more you are”…
I had made a quick trip to Home Depot to pick up things for a practice bag-drag at the Chaplin School. Each one brings a duffel bag filled with uniforms, boots, soap, towels, socks, documents, etc.. they need for the first few weeks operating in the field. You stuff your world into a bag, ready to hit the road or tarmac and you are off. My world was in my bag except for the mandatory work gloves…left in the utility room…back in Mississippi.
So I hit the Home Depot at 6 a.m. to find gloves for myself and others who might have missed packing this part of their world. Stepping to the counter I looked into my wallet. And there, in a flash, I perceived for the briefest moment how my wallet was not unlike my duffel bag; everything in the leather pouch that I carry in my back pocket is a small snapshot of my life. There are just a few bits of paper, plastic and photos that someone might arrange into a rough portrait of the person named Alston Johnson.
Standing there, wallet in my hands, I also had a tiny glimpse of how God holds our life in his hands. All I am, all I have, all I call “me, myself and I,” the sum total, are held in the hands of another. The work, money, family, and good health are merely on loan for a season through God’s loving hands; everything is returned in the exit.
Sometimes I am guilty of carrying my life and God’s blessings the way I carry my duffel bag and wallet; items packed for personal travel. I forget that I am a steward of the good things that have been sent in my direction. Joy and freedom comes from giving them back to the one from whom they came. It is a matter of becoming a good steward, as Christ is a good and courageous steward to each of us. Every season of this life is a season of unpacking the blessings we thought were our own and offering them back to God with gratitude.
For others it is to open calendars filled with our best laid plans. Everyone’s gift will be unique, but common to all is that we each have a gift to bring. In the end, our lives become our own when we have given them to God.
In the words of C. S. Lewis “Nothing is really ours until we share it.”
The Rev. Alston B. Johnson, St. Mark’s, Shreveport. Louisiana