We have what we call a trolley ministry in our church. It's a simple idea, people bring along some extra groceries to church and leave them in a trolley in the front hall. Once it has built up a bit those groceries are passed on to families who are struggling to make ends meet, it's a nice thing to do and it's what we're asked to do in the bible and like I say, people are very generous.
So the other day I, and the Girl from Down the Street, sorted the stuff into boxes. There were ten in all, neatly arranged and awaiting distribution like little soldiers waiting for their assignments. There were all sorts of delights within; beans, peas, pasta, sauces, pudding rice, cereal... even some toiletries and cleaning material, everything anyone could need.
The day after sorting them I rocked up with my trusty steed of a car to load and distribute the loot. All was going well until the last box. It sat there on the floor, gleaming with pride. It was a beautifully arranged box with a good even spread of foodstuffs. It was the daddy of the boxes that day, the supreme receptacle, the King, the overlord, the terminator.. you get the idea - it was a box with some good stuff inside.
Then I lifted it.
The box came up but the contents stayed still. The bottom of the box was weak and useless, the tape had failed, the cardboard had folded and it's reign as the Don was over. Shame and disappointment gripped it like a T-Rex grips a goat, the sham had been uncovered, the end had come.
Such is life. We fill it with all the funky accessories we value - a job with a good wage, a shiny car, shiny kids and a shiny spouse. We eat well, socialise well, get lots of high-fives when we 'knock 'em dead' and rumpy-pumpy on our king-sized bed. We fill our box with all the box-tickers of earthly success; it looks good, it feels good, it smells good. But then we go to lift it.
It's those times of turbulence that test the strength of our life-box and it will always be found wanting. The truth is that you can fill your box up with all sorts of cool stuff but it's counts for nothing if you've got the wrong box.
Let me be clear. Unless you build your life in Jesus it will be weak and it will not stand up to the tests of this world. That is a fact that is clear to anyone who lives: Life is fragile and can only be got through when it is packed in Jesus Christ.
Which box is your life packed in?
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."