An ordinary package — taped, addressed, and covered with postal stickers. An ordinary journey — traveling by railcar the 229 miles from New York City to Washington D.C. An ordinary postal worker — delivering the package from his satchel, from which he had delivered so many others.
Yes, almost everything about this package was conventional for the USPS — everything, except the contents. Within the plain, brown wrapping lay one of the most valuable shipments in U.S. history: the Hope Diamond.
Even in 1958, this 45-carat, dark-blue diamond had a value of one million dollars. Today, that value is closer to $250 million.
Yet, for a period of time, this diamond of immense wealth was enveloped in ordinary, brown paper.
What a beautiful picture of the children of God— humble in packaging, but glorious in content. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7). As His children, we house the very brilliance of God. “For behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).
Our God had been planning His move into us for a long time. Both Zechariah and the Ezekiel prophesied of His indwelling Spirit. “I will be the glory in her midst” (Zechariah 2:5). “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you…and I will put My Spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
You now are a “temple of God,” built for the very purpose of housing the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). “You are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). This dwelling place, this residence within you “shall be called a house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13). When we pray, “the glory of the Lord (fills) the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:11). Because of the outpouring of His Spirit within your temple, everything within you is automatically crying “Glory!” (Psalm 29:9).
Granted, our minds and emotions get in the way from hearing the prayer and holy worship that is going on within our inner man. All too often, we spend our time being influenced by the information from our physical senses. But when we turn our inner eyes to “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen,” we find ourselves “with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 4:18; 3:18).
May we purpose our minds and emotions onto the reality within. Let’s “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is” (Colossians 3:1). “Set your mind on the things above, not of the things that are on the earth” (Colossians 3:2), “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
“His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). He “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Let’s forget “what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13), by letting our minds dwell on those things which are honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute , excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). Let’s set our minds on the heavenlies, so that when we arrive there one day, we will already be at home there. After all, in the midst of our humble packaging, we have the Hope within (1 Peter 3:15).
Granddaddy’s eyesight was in decline by the time I was born. Maybe it had something to do with the dim lantern by which he read in his early years. With only an eighth-grade education, Granddaddy’s love of books preceded the arrival of electricity to his dugout.
Because I was born late into my parent’s marriage, my granddaddy always seemed old to me. I remember sitting at our antique dining table watching him scoop sugar into his tea. Three times, he shakily neared his tumbler, and three times poured sugar directly onto the table. My mother scolded that I should have let him know he was missing his glass. But, I loved Granddaddy and didn’t want to embarrass him. I would have let him put the whole bag of Imperial Cane on the tablecloth before telling him why his tea wasn’t sweet.
When I came home from college sporting my freshman fifteen, I especially looked forward to visiting my granddaddy. Because of his dimming vision, he couldn’t give me the “you’ve-packed-on-the-pounds-look” like everyone else did. Yet, something about backlighting and his loving embrace found me out. “See you been eatin’ good,” he said, with a twinkle in his eyes.
The more I understood Granddaddy, the more I loved him.
He was a man whose foresight of youth had seen the beauty of a young widow and wooed her with handwritten prose to become his wife. My grandparents lived together almost seventy years, giving their seven children and ten grandchildren a living example of steadfast faithfulness.
He was a man whose hindsight made him a ninety-seven-year-old celebrity in my hometown. “I’ve been here since the sun was about the size of a quarter and there wasn’t any moon,” he loved to say. Granddaddy stayed young by homespun humor and a quick wit. “If it wasn’t for my eyes, I’d pass for twenty-five,” he often quipped.
He was a man whose insight saw the joy of capturing the moment, including one very memorable joy-ride I shared with him across a furrowed field. I don’t know if he even cared that he had missed the turn row, so we bumped and jostled till we both laughed out loud.
My granddaddy gave me broad shoulders on which to stand and view the world. He taught me that despite failing eyesight, one can look at unseen things and truly enjoy life. As I look back upon his past, I find a pathway for my future, an avenue urging me into a hope beyond what my physical eyes can see. I discern a man whose vision encouraged coming generations to approach the invisible throne boldly and therein glimpse peace.
Maybe my granddaddy wasn’t so blind after all.
My grandparents (1952).