The box

As part of my 3-4 times a year update to those on my e-mail list, I sent the the following post. Read on to the end to find out the suggestions I got from those who responded to my question. I sweetened the deal by offering readers an opportunity to win one of two $15 Starbucks gift cards if they responded. Here’s what I wrote:

The other day, I went hunting in our garage and noticed a mystery box that has been moved from house to house without ever being opened. (Raise your hand if you, too, have a box or three like this lurking in your basement, attic or garage!) I pulled it from the shelf, dusted it off and set it on the gritty garage floor. What was in it?

The plain cardboard box didn’t yield many clues. When I’d first packed it, I’d taken a few seconds to scrawl “Fragile” across its belly before taping it securely. The box has logged basement time in at least a couple of houses and an extended visit to the loft of a friend’s goat barn before it found its way to a neglected shelf in our garage.

I toyed with a loose corner of yellowing packing tape as I pondered tearing into the cardboard time capsule. The box has been using valuable real estate in our garage like a silent squatter and giving us nothing but wasted space in return.

Words I’d whispered years ago came rushing back to me. The words, a kind of a prayer, may have been uttered when I first packed this very box: “I’ll know I’ve finally arrived home when all the boxes are unpacked.”

Now, this last, forgotten box was before me. The words of Scripture came, throwing a shaft of light on the lid of the tired old box: “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Mt. 6:20), “Hearing My words and putting them into practice is like a wise man building his house on the rock” (Mt. 7:24).

Whatever was in the box is not the stuff of eternity.
This world is not my home.

I returned the box to its spot on the shelf.



So…what would you do with the box? Open it to see what’s inside? Drop it off unopened at the Salvation Army? Put it to the curb on garbage day? Burn it? Gift wrap it and give it to a distant relative next Christmas?

Send me your suggestions at mishvl(at) telling me what you’d do with this unopened box.

Here’s how the 23 reponses broke down:

Open the box: 11
Open it, then donate whatever’s in there to charity: 2
Hi Michelle/no opinion: 7
Don’t open it: 1
Throw it away: 1
God told me you should send it to me: 1

Here is what the Starbucks gift card winners each said:

As long as you are rest-assured that The Box doesn’t contain something along the line of great-great-great grandmother’s glass dreidel collection I’d say either 1. do something really, really wacky like put it on ebay 2. find a white elephant party to go to (hey – it’s already wrapped!) 3. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 Object Lesson (i.e. a really big bonfire) or 4. keep it on your gritty, garage shelf, packed and unopened, as a steadfast reminder that the day is soon approaching when you’ll finally arrive home. Who knows… God willing, it may follow you there. 🙂

Winner #1

About your box. I already know what is in it, I put it there.When you moved, you DID unpack it, and you left its remains on the curb. I came by your driveway, collected it, filled it and taped it back up. Then while you were gone at a recent seminar near Batavia, I snuck into your garage and stuck it on the shelf, sprinkling it with dust.You see, I collected notes from everyone you have helped over the years in your ministry. They are all crammed in there – some written in pen, marker, crayon. One lady even wrote with a slate gray eye pencil because I caught her off-guard doing her makeup in the bathroom mirror at Sears. The ones from kids are the cutest!

Every now and then we all need encouragement that we are moving in God’s goodness and will, especially during times of change. A big box of thank you’s might just be the ticket.Now, the problem with your collection is this: you can’t ever open the box. The deal I made with God was that He would help me collect them all, give me the names and whereabouts of the ‘helpees’ so to speak; on the condition that you never see the details. He said you would want it that way because it would help you remember it is Him, not you, doing these awesome things.So, as long as the box stays unopened on your shelf, that is what it will contain. But the minute you start seeking words of praise from man, and crack the top of the box, the notes will be transformed and will appear to be ordinary household items.So if it were me, I’d keep the box. Unopened. Just for those days you might wonder.

– Winner #2

So what am I going to do with the box?

I’m going with the lovely advice of Winner #2, and leave it on the shelf.

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3 thoughts on “The box”

  1. While it’s certain the contents of the box would not go into eternity, it is uncertain that the contents of the box could or would not be used in a way that could impact eternity. Jesus said that even a glass of water could impact eternity when given in his name. Any temporal thing can be used in a way to impact eternity. We should see things in this way.

  2. Cool post and cool giveaway. I would have to open the box. Couldn’t stand it otherwise. I found you on writer interupted.

  3. Thanks Tim and Heidi –

    Both of you make good points. At some time in the future (when we move again, probably) I’m sure it will be time to open the box, since we’ll be downsizing further than we already have.

    But for now, thar she sits…

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