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Big Red Suitcase  

My red American Tourister suitcase—the one with the nice spinner wheels—lived a rough life and died an early death.  Despite the widely held belief that duct tape can fix anything, Ol’ Red gave up the ghost.  Black residue from countless strips of adhesive oozed from a gash that ran most of the length of the top seam, and it didn’t take a doctor to know it was time for the final trip—out to the curb.

Yet, based on the rattle of  Ol' Red's innards, I figured I ought first to perform a sort of autopsy to see what might be hiding inside.  Here’s what I found in my “empty” suitcase:

  • Business card for “Kernel Poppers” in St. Augustine, FL
  • Map of Oslo, Norway
  • Train ticket from Oslo to Bergen
  • “Official Map of Bergen” (glad I didn’t sucker for a lesser unofficial version)
  • Brochure for the King David light show in Jerusalem
  • Western Wall brochure, Jerusalem
  • Antique pottery shard from Israel
  • Romanian cultural book
  • International transit receipt from Toronto Pearson airport
  • Name tag from Global Partners training event in Ghana, West Africa
  • Hand sewn fabric bag from Albania
  • Bus ticket to Las Vegas’ “Deuce” bus system
  • To do list written on “Glen Eyrie” Colorado stationary
  • Page of Sermon notes from Jacksonville’s Church of Eleven Twenty-Two
  • Four metal hangars (trust me—we need them where we travel)
  • 2 Thomas Kinkade Knick-knacks.
  • Dog-eared gospel tract titled, “The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ.”
  • Hampton Inn paper pad
  • Interview notes written on a Days Inn pad
  • Three blank lined 4x6 index cards
  • Funeral memorial card of a friend
  • Ziplock bag with two Vitamin C booster packets (will sell for $25 each or $45 for both)
  • Individually wrapped “Wet Ones” antibacterial wipe (now on eBay—starting bid is $250 for the one wipe).
  • Dental floss
  • Four rubber bands: three green, one blue
  • 3 Gift bags
  • Unopened gift bag tissue
  • Two plastic file folders
  • Canceled Wal-Mart check, plus receipt
  • Power strip with six plug-ins
  • Zippered airline-issued overnight kit featuring socks, toothbrush, and eye patch
  • One LED light switch
  • Assorted plastic bags
  • Earphone suitable for phone use.
  • Miniature scroll copy of the Ten Commandments
  • 56 cents in various coins
  • American Tourister Limited Ten Year Global Warranty card

Consider—all that junk was tucked away in those pockets, which I dragged from country to country. And get this—my eclectic global assortment weighed a total of four pounds. Almost 10% of the allowable airline weight was "spoken for" by junk!

Thanks to Covid-19, most are spending much more time at home.  And some of us are doing spring cleaning like I was. But why limit ourselves to just cleaning our stuff?  Why not a cleaning of the soul, as well?

Who knows what kind of spiritual junk you and I are needlessly carrying around inside us? Stuff that drags us down and wears us out in our witness for Christ. Time to do some soul cleaning!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

—Hebrews 12:1





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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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Jon Gauger Media 2016