November 17, 2011

Life In A Suitcase by Bryan Norford

Remember opening a suitcase at your destination? Contents packed too tightly for recognition? Socks stuffed in shoes, screwables poked in loose corners, last minute dumps screwing up the rest! Worse jumble still, if two people pack the same case! Or, heaven forbid, you find it’s someone else’s.

You try to set out garments so they are recognizable. It’s almost as bad as missing luggage—at least then you can buy new clothes! They look good. But cheaply bought, they soon look shabby. You retrieve lost luggage with relief. So good to unpack, iron and hang the real clothing attractive and orderly.

The Bible is like a suitcase. Contents often packed too tightly to be easily understood. Goodies packed in unsuspecting corners. Numerous writers pack differently. Some place their contents in methodical fashion, others lay it in as it comes. Some cram their stuff in panic or stress, others lay it in more leisurely.

Today’s writers are, or should be, the unpackers. Like good teachers, they sort and present biblical truths with clarity. They untangle difficult material, iron out apparent discrepancies, bring together similar materials, and provide access to what we need.

Without this, many find the Bible's contents a dense, impenetrable muddle once the covers open. Many will open the wrong suitcase. There they find cultural garments that fit poorly, fall apart after use, or are too revealing! Some will find these materials convenient, fitting their lifestyle or agenda. These garments supplant interest in longer lasting spiritual clothing.
There is one further move necessary to show off the Biblical content. Clothes show best when worn. They sell best when adorning models or advertisements. Writers must exhibit the truths they espouse.

Christianity will always be a counter culture, at odds with its social environment. It’s appeal is not in strutting laws and rules, all cultures do that; but in wearing the garments of salvation: compassion, grace, patience, love, faithfulness and forgiveness.

This dress stands out in a crowd more concerned with self-serving status than servanthood. For “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


  1. I especially appreciate the line that 'clothes show best when worn' . Its why stores put clothes on manikins rather than just leave them all on the racks. This is a great analogy for our faith - and yes, we are a 'counter culture', aren't we?

  2. Thanks for a thoughtful, and thought-provoking post. Your imagery put a smile on my face - as a "missionary kid" I opened many suitcases!

  3. I enjoyed reading your beautifully written posting, and I say 'amen' to all what you've written. Thank you.

  4. Someone today told a story about a soldier in Alexander the Great's army who was also named Alexander. Alexander the Great came up to his soldier and told him to live up to the name. That's how we as Christians are called to live - as Christ did, so that others see Him in us. I like your analogy of clothing and mannequins to demonstrate that too. :)


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