God's Two Boxes

I hear and read of things that people are working on in their lives or are praying for. I want to be more organized. I want to get my finances in order. I want to get into a house. Don't get me wrong, those things have their importance and are meaningful, but I've been wondering how important they are to God in the His perspective from outside of time. He's got the perfect vision, He can see the beginning and end of time at once. He knows how it all got stared and how it ends. He truly knows what's important. Down here on Earth, with our limited vision of time, things can get cloudy. We get fooled by mirages and hallucinations. Which has lead me to this question:

If God had only two boxes to put everything of mine in, one marked 'Important' and one marked "Unimportant", where would he put my stuff?

And, being boxes, they are limited in size. In other words, He can't just keep putting everything in the "Important" box. Pretty soon it would get full, and he'd have to make decisions. "Hmm, I gotta take out the big screen or I can't fit in salvation for his children." Get the picture?

Yes, it's a reductionist question, but I think we can learn from this simplification. It makes me think that some of the things we run after aren't really that important to God. I'm not talking about just the material things. In fact, those are the things we can easily see God putting in the "Unimportant" box. No, I bet there are some Big Things on our lists that God looks at and says, "You know, from where I sit, looking at all eternity, that's really no big deal."

Good health? God says, "From up here, being sick for 30 years is a minute thing." Financial security? "You know you only need to deal with that money for 75, 80 years. After that it's useless." A nice house? "You're only going to live there for a few decades! After a thousand years, you won't remember it, trust me."

It's the heart things, those things that shape us and define us that God might put into that "Important" box. A friendship that challenges you to grow? "Might be the difference in where you spend the next millenia." An outward, others focus? "Might be the difference between where they spend eternity!" Learning to love like Jesus? "Might help My image, and maybe help others actually find their way home."

It makes me think of this passage in a new light:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

This passage is usually used to teach us not to fret over stuff, which is important. In the light of the idea of God's two boxes, I wonder if Jesus isn't also, or even primarily, teaching us to put things in proper perspective - God's perspective. Food, money, shelter, in the long run these things, though needed, are not important. Let God take care of those things, you turn your attention to the stuff in God's "Important" box.

4 Comments

Great post, Doug.

I can tell you from personal experience that planning a move into an old house in a working class neighborhood has already done wonders for me.

It doesn't have central air - a friend offered a like new A/C window unit for free.

It doesn't have appliances - we've had offers from all over.

On the opposite side, rent has been cut in half.
I'm getting rid of my Catera.
I've already thrown away eight 13gallon bags of things I didn't even know I had.

I feel silly for worrying about so many things, that in the end are really comforts, not needs.

All this to say that I am continually taking things out of the 'Important' box, and it is freeing.

Doug, this is right on!

I have been feeling this way for a while and did not know how to express my thoughts. As always - you have an extremely talented way of making things very simple and clear.

I have had this conversation with my wife and family just recently. How do we reduce, how do we focus on the important and the rest just kind of falls into place.

We do not need a big house a ton of stuff or a nice huge car. Though those things are nice to have (I am not a minimalist mind you - I do want all those things) but they are that, just things.

thanks.

Just an addenda to a *great* article: I think what is often missing is the "why" and that the "why" is probably more important than the "what."

I recently got reminded, for example, that my lack of organization (I'm a natural anarchist) really frustrates my wife. So, for me, getting "more organized" may be one of the more Godly things I will do, in that I'm doing it pretty much *only* because I really love my wife, which is one of the things God seems to be pleased with.

Mark

I like it. A combination of a Spiritual and Materialistic "Clean Sweep". Good idea. My wife and I have been talking about a clean sweep for some time. What a great encouragment.



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  • I like it. A combination of a Spiritual and Materialistic "Clean Sweep". Good idea. My wife and I have been talking about a clean sweep for some time. What a great encouragment....

    P. Allan Frederick
    God's Two Boxes
  • Just an addenda to a *great* article: I think what is often missing is the "why" and that the "why" is probably more important than the "what." I recently got reminded, for example, that my lack of organization (I'm a n...

  • Doug, this is right on! I have been feeling this way for a while and did not know how to express my thoughts. As always - you have an extremely talented way of making things very simple and clear. I have had this conve...

  • Great post, Doug. I can tell you from personal experience that planning a move into an old house in a working class neighborhood has already done wonders for me. It doesn't have central air - a friend offered a like ne...

    pinakidion
    God's Two Boxes
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