Lessons from a Cracker Jack Box

Matthew 6:19-21   “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Cracker Jacks

Yesterday I bought a 3-pack of Cracker Jack.  I didn’t see any single boxes, so I was forced to buy in bulk.  A wave of nostalgia swept over me as I carefully studied this familiar treat from my childhood.  The box is pretty much the same, except now it sports a bar code and nutritional information that I didn’t care a hoot about in the 1950’s.  I smiled back at Sailor Jack with his happy perpetual salute and his little dog, Bingo.  I guess I was a little bit bugged when I realized that Jack looks pretty darn good for being 120 years old.  Opening the box is as difficult for me now as it was then.  I struggled to open that box with my tiny little girl fingers that were too small to even wrap around the box.  Mom to the rescue.  I watched in amazement as she punctured the perforated area on the side of the box with her talon-like thumbnail.  Today arthritis still makes it difficult for me to puncture that same “Push & Tear Off Top” spot, and Mom is no longer around to call on.  But, armed with a large paring knife strategically hacking away at that perforation did the trick.  That sudden sweet aroma of caramel corn wafting from the opened box made me swoon.  It took a little doing, but I finally ripped the cardboard top off, now lined with industrial strength silver paper lining, and tossed it aside.  I gazed deeply into the box and took my time studying the puffy golden globes of caramel covered popcorn.  I have to say, I gasped a little when I spotted The Prize tucked against the inside of the box.  A flood of memories swept over me as I recalled other Prizes.  Oh, the wonder of it all!  The feeling that crept over me was childish and hopeful.  What would I find when I opened the red and white striped wrapper concealing this mysterious treasure?  It’s been more than 50 years since I found tiny ballerinas and decoder rings and magnifying glasses and miniature story books.  Times have changed.  Prizes could only get better.  Right?  I could only imagine the sophisticated and glitzy treasure hidden inside.  A diamond ring?  No.  The object is flat and square.  A Visa gift card?  No.  Too small.  How many times have we heard it said that the best gifts come in small packages?  Well, this package is certainly small.  Roughly, 1 ½ inch by 1 1/2 inch.  That would definitely be the smallest driver’s license ever.  It must be something delicate.  Fragile.  Carefully, I found a place to pull the two pieces of wrapper apart with my fingernails.  Careful.  Don’t tear it.  Careful.  With great care, I opened the tiny paper folded in half.  A note.  Aha!  A secret message directing me to the ultimate Prize of all?  I wonder if I’m supposed to eat it once I’ve read it.  There it is!  With sweaty palms, I read the message:

The Baltimore Orioles

came into existence

in 1954 when the

St. Louis Browns

franchise relocated

to Baltimore.

What?  WHAT?!  Are you kidding me?!  What kid cares about franchise politics?  I know I’m not a kid, but, seriously?  Wait!  There’s more.  Carefully I peel away another layer of paper, barely visible.  Behold!  The Prize.  A paper sticker boasting the Orioles baseball team logo.  Well, I know where I’d love to stick that…

Then I heard a still small voice say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I guess it doesn’t take much to realize that sometimes my treasure is in the wrong place.  In Luke 12:14, Jesus warns,

“Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

Yesterday I learned how easy it is to be distracted by material things.  When I allowed myself to get so bummed out because I placed my hope in a silly little piece of paper, I forgot that there really is a Prize to look forward to.  That Prize has a name and it’s Jesus Christ.  Messiah.  Savior.  God.  The Great I Am.  That little Baltimore Orioles baseball sticker will lose its appeal and will eventually fall off of whatever it gets stuck to.  It will be lost at some point.  Jesus won’t let me get unstuck from Him.  If I lose my way for a little while, I am one of those sheep who He loves enough to find me and bring me back to Him.  How could I ever seek joy in a little trinket in a Cracker Jack box, when I have all the best of everything in Jesus Christ?

Where is your treasure?  What is your heart’s desire?

In His Service,

Roni

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