The Parable of the Blessing Box

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” ~ Matthew 7:7-11

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(Blogger‘s note: I’m not sure if it’s possible to plagiarize a parable, but just for the sake of full disclosure, this parable, or a form thereof, has been passed through the generations. It may be most noticeably found in Bruce Wilkinson‘s Prayer of Jabez. The parable takes on subtly different variations with each telling. This just happens to be mine.)

Blessing Box

William was 72, and he’d just died.

And he now found himself face-to-face with a man who greeted him as if he’d known him all his life.

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On earth, William had been a good man. He was faithful to family, attended church regularly, and respected by all who know him. For William, life was pretty easy. Most days he felt blessed beyond what he deserved, and so for the many magnificent things in his life, he always felt a little guilty.

No one ever knew it. He just carried it around, and kept it in a place where no one ever saw it.

Lord, why have you blessed me with so much?” he often asked in his prayers.

And as a result, he mostly coasted through life, grateful all the while, never asking for much. To have asked for more would have been an insult, he thought.

Blessing  Box

At this moment, William stood face-to-face with Peter. William was in Heaven. Light was everywhere. Will saw colors he’d never seen before, and the music was so beautiful it took on a new dimension. William could actually see the music in the air.

Peter was standing by, waiting for William’s arrival, to give him a tour of the place.

Quickly in, among the majestic beauty of golden streets and sidewalks of pearl, William noticed a facility resembling what a warehouse looked like on earth.

“What is that place?” William asked.

“Nothing we’re interested in seeing,” Peter replied.

But William was drawn to the warehouse.

William will have nothing of Peter’s ongoing tour until he can see the warehouse.

And Peter, as he has so many times before, finally relents.

He opens the door and William almost trips over himself to see what’s inside.

 He sees millions of white boxes with red ribbons wrapped carefully around each one. Each box has a name on it.
William runs to the “J” aisle (his name had been Jones on Earth) and finds a box with his name. He opens the box and Peter hears the familiar deep sigh, he’s heard so many times before.
Inside the box, William’s just found all the blessings God wanted to give him. But they remained in side the box because JOE NEVER ASKED FOR THEM.
Fortunately, for William, there no regrets in Heaven. Just more wisdom every day.
Blessing Box
“Now Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that you would bless me, indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from the harm that it may not pain me!’ And God granted him what he requested.” 1st  Chronicles 4:10
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What We Fight For, Cherish and Honor – But Almost Never ENJOY

Yellowstone National Park in Montana

Me, two years ago, stretching arms and checking a bucket list item in Big Sky Country at Yellowstone National Park. Freedom.

“But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.” ~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden

If you’re among the 16 percent who didn’t, count yourself as lucky – but recent statistics show 84 percent of Americans woke up this morning hating their job. That means sometime, most likely around 5 a.m., just over a billion Americans woke up and dreaded going to work. That’s billion – with a B.

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Roughly, 100 million Americans attended a church service yesterday. Forty percent of the church-goers left feeling frustrated, ostracized, criticized, guilty and unloved. They were frustrated that much of their church activity is centered around carpet, curtains, choir robes, procedure and doctrine – and they left wondering – is this what the church is really all about?

And I get that. Up until a few months ago, I felt guilty, condemned and spiritually insulted by every church I’d ever attended.

***

Failure is not an option.Two months shy of the New Year, millions of Americans are already thinking about their list of upcoming resolutions. They’re frustrated with their busy-ness, lack of goals, or lack of goals achieved. They are shamed by inner-conscience guilt for their past failures and shortcomings. They’re mad about the analysis paralysis they experience because they just can’t trust their gut to take a leap of faith into the yet unrealized dream of launching a new business, losing 20 pounds or repairing a lost relationship.

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Here’s a quote from a Facebook friend, just yesterday, that got me thinking about this:

“Once you decide to step out of the program, the programmers (i.e.-controllers) no longer have the prerogative to fit you into the scheme of their design… that’s when you realize that you’re free to live as the One inside of you desires.  It really is for freedom that you’ve been set free.  Be free to live and love.

“In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off.” – Galatians 5:1

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And while we’re flirting around with the Bible, here’s another bit of truth that has me thinking about it further:

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

Show me a single place in the Bible where God says he wishes guilt, condemnation or shame on you and I’ll send you my next paycheck.

And either this is truth or it’s not. A boss once called me half-joking, but serious still yet – “a religious wack-job.” I’m sure it had something to do with the WWJD bracelet I wear on my right hand. And for the record, I almost always wear it inside out because it’s not for public display. It’s just for me. His remark was actually funny – I’m about as anti-religion as you’ll ever find. My friends will tell you I RAIL against religion.

Freedom to fail.

I choose to embrace the truth that God grants me the freedom to fail; that he’s not keeping account of my shortcomings; and that he won’t ask for my spiritual resume – EVER.

Last week, I re-read Bruce Wilkinson‘s Prayer of Jabez. If you’ve never read it, this was the young man’s audacious prayer:

“Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be upon me, and that you would keep me from evil.”

In the seven days I’ve been praying that prayer, I’ve:

  • Paid off three credit cards;
  • Paid off a vehicle;
  • Developed two new sources of income with two more strong potentials.
  • Learned a new golf grip that has me sailing a 7-iron about 155 yards straight down the middle of the fairway with the faintest of beautiful draws (this is among the greatest of blessings);
  • and started a checklist for a great new adventure that will begin on December 21. I’ll write much more extensively about that beginning a week from today.

That’s not braggadocio mish-mash. It’s God’s honest truth.

It’s not a prayer to Santa Claus. It’s a prayer to the God who assures me that he has a plan for my GOOD and not my GUILT.

July 4, 1776. We celebrate it every year as our Independence Day.

I’ll tell you the day you were set free. It was more than 2,000 years ago when every smidgen of your guilt, shame and regret was nailed to a cross – forever, done deal, over.

Success is 99 percent failure.

Now. Don’t just go celebrate your freedom. Live it. ENJOY it.

god of second chances

Embrace it. ENJOY it.

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