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    by Susan McGrath

Love in a Shoebox
Date Posted: March 5, 2005

Many of us have saved mementos in a shoebox, tucked into the back of a closet. They might be souvenirs of a childhood vacation, love letters, or pictures, but they represent something we love.

Based on this idea, Hallmark even came out with a line of greeting cards called "Shoebox Greetings". Something they apparently thought everyone could relate to.

Whether love letters saved or greeting cards sent, in both cases they are enclosed or packaged and sealed to be opened later.

As a congregation our church has taken on a shoebox project for the last few years. Through Operation Christmas Child we collect and fill shoe boxes with items kids need and enjoy and send them, with love, across oceans to be opened at the appropriate time.

The company I used to represent selling home decor items also has a "shoebox story". The founder of the company has told this story many times at company meetings and even included it as a testimonial in the catalog.

She had been saving to begin her own business and had about $1,500. (This was in 1972.) She was talking to her neighbor, who was also a good friend. When her neighbor heard the idea, she wanted to support it and be part of it. She went into her closet and took down a shoebox containing $600 and, with love, gave it to help with a dream. A successful company was born and a friendship strengthened -- all from the contents of a shoebox.

But no matter what wonderful mementos or monetary savings we have, even if given in love, they cannot last.

That's why God gave us an eternal gift. His gift cost more than any souvenir or postage stamp on a love letter. It did not sit on a shelf for years waiting to be opened.

He sent His son, Jesus -- Savior, Messiah -- and allowed him to perform the ultimate act of love, giving his life for us. He was not contained in a box, but sealed in a tomb, and unlike our earthly treasures, could not be kept for years on a shelf.

As we place a lid on our shoe boxes to keep things inside, the men of Jesus' time put a "lid" on his tomb -- a large stone no man could move. But neither death nor a stone could keep him in the grave. On the third day he arose triumphant.

Let us remember to share His gift with others. Instead of putting our faith in a shoebox on a shelf where only we can open and admire it, let's put it on like the shoes that were once in that box.

Years ago we sang a song in Vacation Bible School called "Be Like Jesus Shoes". One of our teachers told us jokingly that since Nike (as in shoes) is Greek for victory, some of us were already wearing them. We do have the victory through Christ who conquered death. Let's wear it outwardly for others to see.

1 John 5:4-5 says, "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God."

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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