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Parable of the Two Boxes

Parable of the Two Boxes

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I’ve always loved the parables that Jesus told, and appreciated that each time I read them I receive a different lesson or even a repeated lesson that helps me in my daily walk with Christ. Over the years I’ve even received inspiration to write a parable or two and so I may share some of those here. This one is a parable that came to me around Christmas time as I watched my youngest daughter and my granddaughter open their gifts. I hope you enjoy reading it and that it blesses your soul for the Lord. Here it is…

Parable of the Two Boxes

There once was a man who came to his door each day with thoughts of what the day would hold. Each day he would look out hoping for a blessing, but usually all he saw was a beggar woman, homeless, dirty, and begging for a handout. Each day he yelled out at the woman to leave his yard because she made his beautiful home look worse. He did not care for her needs in any way.
Then one day when he opened the door the man noticed two gift wrapped packages lying on his doorstep. Each was addressed to the resident of the house. He noticed that one box was very large, and one was quite a bit smaller. The smaller package was wrapped in a plain brown colored wrapping, and looked quite beat up. It was tied with simple twine, and was torn a bit exposing the plain brown box underneath. The smaller package looked dirty as if it had been drug through the mud. The second package, which was huge compared to the other, was wrapped in the shiniest red paper which was adorned with beautiful golden crosses on it. It had a golden ribbon stretched around all four sides and was topped with a big, beautiful golden bow and streamers of golden ribbon.
The man also received a card with the two packages. When he opened it, he noticed a simple set of instructions that he needed to follow. The man was instructed to choose between the two packages. He could only have one for himself, and the other package would then be taken and given to someone else at a later time.
The man set the card down and decided to take a good look at the two boxes before he made his choice, even though one glance at the packages had already influenced his decision of which one seemed more pleasing to take. Looking at the smaller gift, he was already disgusted and did not want to lift it at all. It was filthy, torn, and couldn’t hold anything of value by the looks of it. The man could tell that it had a rough journey getting there, and whatever was in it was probably broken from the abuse it received. It looked old, and he figured it must have been rejected many times in the past. Why should he choose something no one else seem to want either?
The second box, however, was quite appealing to the man. He is filled with excitement just thinking of the treasure this grand box must hold. The box looked brand new, as did the wrapping. The man thought this must be the first time it had been offered to anyone, and was honored that he had been the chosen recipient. He reveled in the fact that it was so grandly wrapped, thinking that something so beautifully wrapped must be expensive. He felt encouraged by the appearance of the golden crosses, no one surely would put anything in a package that bore the mark of God. Surely the person who gifted it was a good person who believed in God, and would do him no ill. How was he going to choose which package he wanted?
He chided himself for wanting to choose the beautiful one too quickly. He must look as if he really put some thought into the process.
The man decided he would shake the packages. This will make the neighbors think I found the smaller to be broken. He picked up the smaller gift, feeling disgusted at the feel of the dirt on the outside. He made a mental note to wash his hands as soon as he returned inside with his chosen box. When he shook the box, the man was not surprised to hear a rattle because he expected that whatever it held was already broken. He quickly put the box down, not giving it another thought. The man than lifted the larger box, which he thought was extremely heavy and unbalanced. It must contain more than one thing, he thought. He was surprised to hear the large box rattle as well, but thought to himself that it must contain coins or jewels that were banging together as he shook it. He knew than this was the perfect box for him, but the man thought he still must look as if he was being thoughtful about his choice. Who knows, the giver might be watching him? The man thought, maybe if I appear to have taken great measures to choose the one gift, the giver might in the future bestow another gift of great value on him for his efforts.
After a few moments of posturing himself as if thinking seriously about both packages, the man, knowing which gift was perfect for him reached down to pick it up and carry it into him house. He knew this was the perfect gift and had everything going for it from beautiful packaging, to having the mark of godliness upon it. It offered him the greatest possibilities of security and hope, and the promises of only the best and richest of treasures. Quickly he picked up the second, more ornate box, and turned to take it into his house. As he turned though, the man used the heel of his foot to boot the smaller box off his porch and into the front yard, causing it to land with a hard thud onto a dirt patch in front of his home, the dirt patch where the homeless woman sat day in and day out. That homeless woman just arriving to her usual spot grew excited at the gift that lay where she usually spent her time seeking a little help to get her through her rough life.
The man could not wait to get his gift opened. He thought about ripping off the wrapping, but then he didn’t want to ruin it, after all it looked expensive. Knowing he could always save himself some money later by reusing this wrapping, the man slowing removed the ribbon and bow, then opened each taped edge even slower as to not rip any of the edges. He wanted to preserve the wrapping so no one in the future would be able to tell that it was reused gift wrap. The man was surprised to see that the box under the wrapping was just as wonderful as the paper itself. He just knew that the gift inside must be very special for the giver to spend so much to cover it up. So the man again took his time to open the box, preserving it as new for later use. If anything when he shared with his family the gift he was given, he could show them how wonderfully it had been wrapped. They would surely think he was someone special to have received such an expensive and wonderful gift.
Meanwhile the homeless woman, having nothing but struggles throughout her life, opened up the smaller, rejected gift. She had such meager possessions that even though the gift was battered and beat up she held it in her arms as if it was the greatest treasure ever found. Quickly, the woman tore off the twine and the brown wrapping paper, and ripped open the lid of the box. The box inside was not a struggle to open because it was just as beaten up as the wrappings that once covered it. It, too, carried the markings of a long, hard journey. At the sight of the worn wrapping paper and box, the woman felt a kinship with the package. Her journey through life had been a difficult one also. Both she and the package had been misunderstood, tossed aside by the world, and mistreated by so many in their past. Before looking inside the woman lifted the box into her arms again and pulled it close to her, she hugged it as if to let it know that she understood and the woman promised to treasure this gift forever because of what it had been through just to be given to her.
The woman thought to herself, “I’m not worthy of this gift, but I will accept it because it must have been meant to help me…maybe even to save me from my hard existence.”
The woman, feeling a great surge of hope and mercy, slowly lifted the lid of the box to peer inside. She showed great respect, love and compassion for this gift that had travelled a similar journey to her own. Now finally it had come into her life, so she could possess and care for all that it held for her.
Two different people, two different gifts being opened and possessed fully by their owners. One gift in brightly ornate, expensively decorated wrapping. The other gift bashed up, and wrapped in dirty, torn, bruised wrappings. Two new owners of the gifts, one entranced by the outer adornment of his gift, and the other treasuring the kinship she feels with her gift because of the similarities of what they both had gone through to get to this point where they are together. You might be wondering what was in each gift when they finally opened up the boxes, well let me tell you.
The woman’s box contained a simple, warm blanket, a wool coat, a pair of shoes, a loaf of bread, and a canteen of water. It also contained a letter with the promise to the new owner of a mansion waiting for them at the end of a journey they must take to get to know the sender of the gift. The letter gave them directions on where to go to find the sender and a map to follow, with instructions that the items in the box would be helpful for the trip. The woman quickly put on the shoes, packed up the box, and started on the journey. She knew that she couldn’t leave the box behind, that this journey they would make together and it would be a joyous time for both of them. At the end they would meet the sender and thank him for bringing them together.
The man’s gift, however, did not contain the same things as the woman’s gift had held. As the man opened his gift, his excitement had grown. His thoughts varied from wanting to share the gift to not wanting anyone to touch his great treasure. With each time he moved the gift to undo its trappings, it would rattle, and with each rattle he heard the man just knew that this must be something of great wealth and value just for him. With each thought the man’s self-pride grew, and puffing his chest out, he thought what a special man he must be for someone to send him such a valuable gift. Even more now he could not wait to hold the treasure in his hand. How the world would look upon the man’s greatness for the treasure from this gift that now he possessed. The man closed his eyes as he lifted the lid and reached into the box, wanting not to see it until the treasure actually lay in his hands. Seconds after reaching into the box the man dropped to the floor, and breathed his last breath. He left the world with a look of fear, regret, and horror. Around his body, and from the open box slithered the most dangerous and poisonous snakes of the world. The treasure that he coveted most, turned out to be the thing that would end his life. He had been a fool for the grand outer adornment of the promised gift.
The moral of this story is based on an old, but wise cliche’…”You can’t judge a gift by its cover.” Jesus, God’s greatest gift to us, came in a simple stable, laid in a crudely built manger, and walked on dusty roads to share God’s love with all who would hear. He was beaten, mocked, bruised, rejected, and died on an old rugged cross. Jesus was buried in a cold, dark tomb, and rose from the dead to return to heaven to prepare a place for all who would believe in him, and come to treasure their relationship with him. Jesus walked our same roads, journeyed through the struggles and trials of life on earth, just as we have, and came so that we would not have to struggle alone anymore. With Christ comes a future for us eternally in heaven. He has given us directions and a map to follow that will lead us to him and the mansion he is preparing for us in his kingdom. All we have to do is accept him as our Savior and Lord. Have you asked him for forgiveness of your sins, and asked him to cleanse you from that which covers your soul with filth? Are you willing to trust him to help you through the trials and tribulations of life?
In this world there will be many who come to us like the ornate gift the man received. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, saying they know what God really wants for you, that there are many paths to heaven, that God will take everyone to heaven no matter how much you sin or even if you don’t believe. These charlatans will promise you the world, riches, wealth and fame, and they will set all kinds of temptations before you. But beware these are all false promises. They may seem beautiful from the outside, but inside they are just the trappings of Satan, the great evil serpent from the Garden of Eden. They will lure you in with the beauty of the promises and then snatch your life away with the deception they deliver once you are involved in them. In the end they will leave you with nothing but an eternity of fiery Hell, and a death mask showing regret, shock, and even horror for the world to see, all earned from the choices you made out of lust, greed, and vanity. Now which choice really is the best for you?

 

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Immediately Present (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
Immediately Present
December 22
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

A help that is not present when we need it is of small value. The anchor which is left at home is of no use to the seaman in the hour of storm; the money which he used to have is of no worth to the debtor when a writ is out against him. Very few earthly helps could be called “very present”: they are usually far in the seeking, far in the using, and farther still when once used. But as for the Lord our God, He is present when we seek Him, present when we need Him, and present when we have already enjoyed His aid.
He is more than “present,” He is very present. More present than the nearest friend can be, for He is in us in our trouble; more present than we are to ourselves, for sometimes we lack presence of mind. He is always present, effectually present, sympathetically present, altogether present. He is present now if this is a gloomy season. Let us rest ourselves upon Him. He is our refuge, let us hide in Him; He is our strength, let us array ourselves with Him; He is our help, let us lean upon Him; He is our very present help, let us repose in Him now. We need not have a moment’s care or an instant’s fear. “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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Men as Men; God as God (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
Men as Men; God as God
December 20
I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor? (Isaiah 51:12-13)

Let the text itself be taken as the portion for today. There is no need to enlarge upon it. Trembling one, read it, believe it, feed on it, and plead it before the Lord. He whom you fear is only a man after all; while He who promises to comfort you is God, your Maker, and the creator of heaven and earth. Infinite comfort more than covers a very limited danger.
“Where is the fury of the oppressor?” It is in the Lord’s hand. It is only the fury of a dying creature; fury which will end as soon as the breath is gone from the nostril. Why, then, should we stand in awe of one who is as frail as ourselves? Let us not dishonor our God by making a god of puny man. We can make an idol of a man by rendering to him excessive fear as well as by paying him inordinate love. Let us treat men as men, and God as God; and then we shall go calmly on in the path of duty, fearing the Lord and fearing nobody else.

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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Afflictions, But No Broken Bones (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
Afflictions, But No Broken Bones
December 19
He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken. (Psalm 34:20)

This promise by the context is referred to the much afflicted righteous man: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” He may suffer skin wounds and flesh wounds, but no great harm shall be done; “not a bone of him shall be broken.”
This is great comfort to a tried child of God, and comfort which I dare accept; for up to this hour I have suffered no real damage from my many afflictions. I have neither lost faith, nor hope, nor love. Nay so far from losing these bones of character, they have gained in strength and energy. I have more knowledge, more experience, more patience, more stability than I had before the trials came. Not even my joy has been destroyed. Many a bruise have I had by sickness, bereavement, depression, slander, and opposition; but the bruise has healed, and there has been no compound fracture of a bone, not even a simple one. The reason is not far to seek. If we trust in the Lord, He keeps all our bones; and if He keeps them, we may be sure that not one of them is broken.
Come, my heart, do not sorrow. Thou art smarting, but there are no bones broken. Endure hardness and bid defiance to fear.

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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Peace Whatever Exposure (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
Peace Whatever Exposure
December 3
I will make them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. (Ezekiel 34:25)

It is the height of grace that Jehovah should be in covenant with man, a I feeble, sinful, and dying creature. Yet the Lord has solemnly entered into a faithful compact with us, and from that covenant He will never turn aside. In virtue of this covenant we are safe. As lions and wolves are driven off by shepherds, so shall all noxious influences be chased away. The Lord will give us rest from disturbers and destroyers; the evil beasts shall cease out of the land. O Lord, make this Thy promise good even now!
The Lord’s people are to enjoy security in places of the greatest exposure: wilderness and woods are to be as pastures and folds to the flock of Christ. If the Lord does not change the place for the better, He will make us the better in the place. The wilderness is not a place to dwell in, but the Lord can make it so; in the woods one feels hound to watch rather than to sleep, and yet the Lord giveth His beloved sleep even there. Nothing without or within should cause any fear to the child of God. By faith the wilderness can become the suburbs of heaven and the woods the vestibule of glory.

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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Our Holiest Example (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
Our Holiest Example
December 2
I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. (Psalm 16:8)

This is the way to live. With God always before us, we shall have the noblest companionship, the holiest example, the sweetest consolation, and the mightiest influence. This must be a resolute act of the mind. “I have set,” and it must be maintained as a set and settled thing. Always to have an eye to the Lord’s eye and an ear for the Lord’s voice–this is the right state for the godly man. His God is near him, filling the horizon of his vision, leading the way of his life, and furnishing the theme of his meditation. What vanities we should avoid, what sins we should overcome, what virtues we should exhibit, what joys we should experience if we did indeed set the Lord always before us! Why not?
This is the way to be safe. The Lord being ever in our minds, we come to feel safety and certainty because of His being so near. He is at our right hand to guide and aid us; and hence we are not moved by fear, nor force, nor fraud, nor fickleness. When God stands at a man’s right hand, that man is himself sure to stand. Come on, then, ye foemen of the truth! Rush against me like a furious tempest, if ye will. God upholds me. God abides with me. Whom shall I fear?

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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God Is in the Front Line (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
God Is in the Front Line
November 30
The Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

In the presence of a great work or a great warfare, here is a text which should help us to buckle on our harness. If Jehovah Himself goes before us, it must be safe to follow. Who can obstruct our progress if the Lord Himself is in the van? Come, brother soldiers, let us make a prompt advance! Why do we hesitate to pass on to victory?
Nor is the Lord before us only; He is with us. Above, beneath, around, within is the omnipotent, omnipresent One. In all time, even to eternity, He will be with us even as He has been. How this should nerve our arm! Dash at it boldly, ye soldiers of the cross, for the Lord of hosts is with us!
Being before us and with us, He will never withdraw His help. He cannot fail in Himself, and He will not fail toward us. He will continue to help us according to our need, even to the end. As He cannot fail us, so He will not forsake us. He will always be both able and willing to grant us strength and succor till fighting days are gone.
Let us not fear nor be dismayed; for the Lord of hosts will go down to the battle with us, will bear the brunt of the fight, and give us the victory.

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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