I have traveled by plane many times in my life, but never had my luggage lost–that is, until Christmas Eve eve. My bride and I were returning from our bowl trip to paradise, and because of some delays we had barely made our connecting flight from Baltimore into Atlanta. Unfortunately, our two checked bags didn’t make that connection.
We were set to arrive in Atlanta fairly late on a Saturday night, and we had plans to grab our bags as quickly as possible and head to our car for the drive back home. We knew we would be arriving late, but we wanted to be here for our Christmas Eve morning worship service at Shelby Crossings.
However, after a half hour or so staring at the baggage carousel that didn’t have our luggage on it, we began the arduous process of dealing with baggage claims. The fun included doing an inventory for the customer service rep of everything that was in our two suitcases as best as we could remember what we had packed.
We ended up waiting for a later flight from Baltimore to arrive, and were glad to see our bags finally roll out onto the carousel. We finally left Atlanta at 2 a.m. for the long drive home, and we did make it back that night/morning, but I have to admit we weren’t so spry and alert for the family worship service that Sunday morning.
It reminded me of a story I heard about another man who had his own issues with luggage. He was a very rich man and was near death. He had worked so hard for his money his whole life and was very grieved because he wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.
An angel hears his plea and appears to him, “Sorry, but you can’t take your wealth with you.” The man implores the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules.
The man continues to pray that his wealth could follow him. The angel reappears and informs the man that God has decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathers his largest suitcase and fills it with pure gold bars and places it beside his bed.
Soon afterward the man dies and shows up at the gates of heaven to greet Saint Peter. Seeing the suitcase Peter says, “Hold on, you can’t bring that in here!”
But the man explains to him that he has special permission and asks him to verify his story with the Lord. Sure enough,. Peter checks and comes back saying, “You’re right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I’m supposed to check its contents before letting it through.”
Peter opens the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaims, “You brought pavement?”
Okay, I didn’t say it was a true story. But hopefully, you do get the point. There are a lot of things we spend our lives trying to collect in this life that won’t do us much good in the next. Even our most precious commodities on this side of heaven will be found to be pretty worthless in the next, and some of it will be used to pave those “streets of gold.”
But we can lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, Jesus said (Matt. 6:20), where earthly elements and pests will never be able to destroy them. The question is, what are you storing up, and where are you placing those valuable investments? And will those things last, eternally?
Here’s hoping you don’t get your luggage lost any time soon, but more than that, I hope you are packing the right things.
I am praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.