THE WOODEN BOX


INTRODUCTION

Jerry loved his grandfather. “Papa Chuck”, as he was known, knew everybody in town and was a respected member of the community. He was polite and always greeted people with an enthusiastic, “Hello!” or “How are you today?” Papa Chuck had a firm handshake, not overly powerful to show off his considerable physical strength, but sincere and honest, showing his inner strength and genuine caring.

Back when Jerry was a teenager, he spent a lot of time during the summers with Papa Chuck and Gran. They were a great couple and their love for each other was very apparent. With the tenth anniversary of Papa Chuck’s death approaching, Jerry found himself thinking about those summers more and more. He had so many wonderful memories. Gran was in an apartment now, and she was only two hours away.

Today Jerry had committed to take Gran to the cemetery. He knew that after visiting Papa Chuck’s grave, Gran would want to go for a walk and then head back to her apartment for a late lunch as they had done each year since his death. However, this year, after more tears than he remembered in the past, Gran just asked to head home. Gran seemed tired and somehow older. They didn’t talk much during the drive. When they got home, and as they entered the living room, Jerry immediately noticed the wooden box on the coffee table. This was quite unusual. The wooden box held Papa Chuck’s watch collection, and since his death it had always been stored under Papa Chuck’s side of the bed. Over the years Jerry had spent many hours looking at the different watches. Other than one or two of them, he never really thought they were very valuable, and not even that stylish. Actually, as he stood there, he realized that he had never really even paid much attention to most of them. The gold faced one with the diamond at 12 o’clock was always his favorite. The one with the silver band and mother of pearl face was pretty cool and ran a close second. Beyond that, he couldn’t really recall any of them.

Jerry suddenly realized he had really just been looking for the feeling of being close to Papa Chuck when he spent time in that wooden box. “You know,” Gran began as she sat down on the couch, “there is a story and deep meaning behind every one of those watches. It was the sentimental, not the material value of each one that meant so much to Charles.” Jerry sat down next to Gran. “I’m so sorry, Jerry,” Gran said as she began to cry again. “I was supposed to give you these watches when Charles passed away but I never felt you could appreciate them. Then about three months ago I realized the only reason you couldn’t appreciate them was because no one had ever told you the meaning of each one. I felt so guilty, but I decided that I would wait until today to tell you.”

Jerry hugged his grandmother and then got up to get a tissue for her. “Thank you, Jerry. You have always been so sweet to me. I’m not sure why I didn’t think you would understand the true value of these watches.” She reached over and picked up the oldest looking watch and said, “Now this was always Charles’ favorite. His father gave it to him when he got back from the war. It didn’t cost much, but these words on the back meant the world to my dear Charles.” Gran gently turned over the watch and, for the first time Jerry saw the engraving on the back – CHARLES: I LOVE YOU SON, DAD – “How did I never see that?” Jerry asked. “Jerry, Charles never once heard his father say those words, but here on this watch they were engraved for all time.”

Gran spent the next three hours telling the story behind each watch. Jerry’s eyes and heart were opened to an entirely new and deeper understanding of his grandfather’s life. Over the next year, Jerry worked with Gran to write the story of each watch in a leather bound journal.

The following winter at Gran’s funeral, Jerry told the story of the watches, the wooden box and the journal. He ended the eulogy by saying, “For years I looked in that old wooden box and had never seen its real contents. If Gran had not shared the true meaningtruth with me, I would have never known my Papa Chuck as I do now.” Jerry held the journal up for everyone to see. “Now, each time I read in this journal, I seem to learn more about my dear grandfather, his life and his love for those in his life. Also, I love, appreciate and understand both my grandparents. What is the wooden box in your life?” so much more than I used to. Thanks Gran. I’ll never forget the day you told me the story behind each watch and revealed the invisible treasures inside that wooden box.”

SCRIPTURE

Focus Verse: I Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Additional Verses: John 14:26, Proverbs 9:10I Corinthians 2:14



DISCUSSION

Just as Jerry could not understand the deeper meaning of Papa Chuck’s watches without Gran’s help, without the Holy Spirit, we cannot understand the things of God. Many people have heard the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, Moses, the disciples, Jesus, etc. People may knowingly or unknowingly reference the Bible (i.e. the meek shall inherit the earth, see Matthew 5:5). But do they really understand the deeper meaning or even the context? An unbeliever may be able to intellectually process scripture, even memorize it. But they will not comprehend the true spiritual meaning.

As Christians, with the Holy Spirit living in our hearts, we can understand spiritual truths. However, we have to listen. We have to pray for guidance and understanding. Also, we have to start with the simpler things and, as we mature, we will be able to digest the more complex concepts (Hebrews 5:12-14). But before we try to understand God, we must approach him with the proper attitude. To be in awe of God, to worship, respect and acknowledge Him as Lord of our lives, is when we can begin to learn. Each time before you read your Bible, pray to God that the Holy Spirit will reveal the true meaning of what you are reading and how to apply these truths to your life.

PRAYER

Holy Father in Heaven, I do worship, love and respect You. I pray that my efforts to praise Your Holy name are acceptable. Please make me more sensitive to the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit. Fill me with Your Spirit Lord. May I learn more about You and Your ways each day of my life. I pray for these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.