What’s in Your Travel Bag?

Jim came out of the woods tired and thirsty after a long day of travel.  Before him along the path was a big, beautiful house.  The windows were filled with light and the promise of a good meal and cheer.  As he came closer he could see what was going on in the house – it appeared to be a party.  Closer still and he could hear laughter and could see that there was a banquet taking place.  The thought of a peaceful evening relieved a bit of the weariness in his bones and muscles.

Finally he came to a door.  At first he was confused and thought, “this could not possibly be the front door.” The height was right, but the width was too small.  If the owner of the home wanted to purchase a piano, it wasn’t going through this door.

Not having the energy to look for something that appeared to be the front door, Jim went up and rang the bell.  Whoever was responsible for answering the door must have been right on duty, for the door opened almost instantaneously.

The woman who opened the door was very cheerful looking and was dressed as if for a party.

“May I help you?” she said cheerfully.

“Thank you,” Jim replied.  “I have been traveling all day and I’m very tired.  Would it be possible for me to come in and have something to eat and a place to rest for the evening?”

“Most certainly you can come in!  We love having guests, especially travelers.   As a matter of fact, you have arrived in time for one of the biggest parties of the year.  So, the food and company are extra good,” she replied.

She stood aside to let Jim enter and he tried, but he could not go in.

“What’s wrong?  I can’t seem to come in,” Jim said with surprise.

She was also bewildered and looked at him more closely.  When she noticed the large bag that Jim was carrying she asked, “What’s in the bag?”

“I carry my personal belongs with me.  A person can’t go on a journey without those things which are most important to him, can one?” he responded with some irritation.

She was a bit taken aback by the stronger tone of his response, but her pleasant smile returned and with continued joy she asked, “What’s in the bag?  May I take a look and see what you have brought along for your journey?  I don’t want to be nosey, but may I?

Jim was not at all concerned about her request and opened his bag so that she could see.

Now she was very surprised!  “You found it important to bring that along with you on a long, tedious journey?”

A bit on the defensive, Jim asserted, “Yes, this is very important to me.  You might say that these things are the most important things in my life, things that I have spent a lifetime accumulating.  Frankly, I find it a bit stuck up of you to question what I find important!”

“While I mean you no offense, it is the content of your bag that is keeping you from entering the house and enjoying the party,” she made clear.

Now really offended Jim said, “Well, if that’s the case, the owner of this house must not be very concerned about other people or very loving.  After all, to deny a person entrance to his house because of who they are and what they have done with their life!”

“The content of that bag is not who you are,” she made clear.  “You are a person, a man of great worth to the owner of this house.  You are not the content of that bag!  You never were!  You never will be!”

“So, I can’t come in!! Jim shouted.

“You most certainly can come in but you must leave the bag outside.  You are welcome to the party and all the good things in this house.  But that bag cannot be brought in here,” she affirmed again.

“What kind of bigotry and prejudice is this that a man cannot come into a home as he is?” said Jim still angry.

“You can come in.  You, the man can come in.  But your bag of compost and maggots must be left outside,” she stressed.  “You are not the droppings of the south end of a north bound cow!  You are a man of great worth to the owner and he would be honored to have you come in.  But the compost and the maggots cannot come in and they keep you from being able to enter.”

The above discussion goes on endless times and with many people.  People created by God to be sons and daughters of God carry around their bags of sins, their compost and maggots.  They perceive those sins as being an important part of their lives.  They accuse God of hating people because he is unwilling to accept their sinful compost and maggots.  They accuse God of being unfair and unloving because he does not accept the death in them.  Yet God’s narrow door is always open.  It is only their rejection of the Lord, and their arrogance which is unwilling to recognize the death in their sin that keeps them from being able to pass through the door and take part in the party that is God’s forgiveness, his grace, and his love.

Drop whatever bag of compost and maggots you carrying and receive God’s gift.  Jesus earned it for you.  The LORD wants you to have it.  The Holy Spirit places God’s gift in front of you every day.  Drop the bag.  Receive the gift.  Come into the party.

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