We're all acquainted with the saying: "Good things come in small packages." At least, one hopes that will be the case. The expectation in receiving a small package is that it will contain something of considerable value. When we were living in Sumter County, AL - a place that is always very hot and humid during the summer months, our son had met a lovely young lady while attending the university that he believed should be his lifetime partner. To confirm his love for her and to establish a forever relationship, he wanted to give her an engagement ring. Employment that would grant a reasonable salary was scarce at the time. To establish his goal, with the help of an Elder in the Church, we (my son and I) set up a Paint Contracting Company. The Elder had been engaged in a business that had included painting as part of it. He was an invaluable help in assisting us with pricing and even borrowing some needed equipment. In actuality, we had more requests for painting than we were able to do. At one point, we even hired two employees to meet the demand.
As we neared the end of the summer, our son had earned enough that he could purchase a diamond ring to present to his special person. One day, we went to a reputable jeweler who spent considerable time showing diamonds and discussing values. There were two diamonds that drew our particular interest. I had recommended the one that was slightly less expensive - a very beautiful diamond. My son was drawn to the other stone (which he purchased). A day or two later, I returned alone to the Jeweler and purchased the stone that he had opted not to buy. I had in placed in a necklace and gave it to the love of my life, my Peggy. There were two little boxes containing items of considerable value.
There was a different use of the term "little boxes" in an article by Megan Fowler, By Faith Magazine, January 11th, 2018. The article has in mind a song from 1962. "Malvina Reynolds wrote 'Little Boxes,' a song satirizing the carbon-copy houses filled with people seeming to live carbon-copy lives." The lyric contains these words:
"Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of ticky-tacky, Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes all the same … And they all have pretty children, And the children go to school, And the children go to summer camp, And then to the university, Where they are put in boxes, And they come out all the same."
The author's application is: "When I see my community, I see rooftops. And where there are rooftops, there are people. And where there are people, there are opportunities for ministry." It is strange how many communities are based upon a "cookie-cutter" construction concept. As a child, I grew up in a tenement section where people were crowded in their similar type housing but still strangers to one another. Many churches moved from the urban centers and built luxurious complexes in the suburbs. Urban people by the score became even more isolated in their "cookie-cutter" existence.
I have often wondered, whatever happened to the Biblical vision of people in such existences. Do they not matter to anyone? Are they just there to be exploited by politicians and others? What happened to the message from the Lord, Joel 2:13 (NLT), "Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish"? Whatever happened to the vision and mission to urban people, Joel 3:14 (NLT), "Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision." Have the words of Jesus fallen on deafened ears, John 4:34-35 (NLT), "Wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest"? Have we become that shortsighted and dispassionate in the twenty-first century? What will it take to get Biblical Christians in Biblical Churches to capture and implement the Biblical Vision and be engaged in the Biblical Mission? Do you not see the "Little Boxes" and those who dwell within them?
Prayerfully - consider these things with me!