by Don Carson
When I was a kid, I collected everything shiny, or shiny enough to spark my imagination; I collected everything that could fit in a cigar box. I also collected cigar boxes. If my shinies could fit in a cigar box, then that’s where they went. The owner of the B&W Store, whose name was Mr. “B,” as best I recall, gave his empty cigar boxes to me. The B&W Store – the general store that my brothers and sisters and I could walk to and home again without Mammy and Daddyfearing that we’d been taken and disappeared from – that shined like a shiny thing itself, the store that is, being as it was among the largest shinies located off of the Old Atlanta Highway halfway between Oakdale and Smyrna, Georgia.
There were only two shinies larger than the B&W Store on that stretch of road in 1963: Campbell High of Smyrna and Brawner’s Sanitarium. These shinies were too big to fit in my cigar boxes, though I could sometimes squeeze most of the high school and most of the sanitarium too into my cigar boxes by pure imagination and holding my tongue just so, like my Daddy and Pappy had taught me. I’m sure that it was of great assistance to my imaginary world that many of those blessed souls who visited or resided in the high school and the sanitarium alike were frequently one and the same folk.(And yes, some people lived in the high school from time to time, unbeknownst to the general population. They were God’s children just like you and me, landed on hard times: outcast, diseased, homeless, aliens, of a minority ethnic group, and poor. They were grateful for the agape-like love of “those who served them with the heart of Jesus.” Jesus diedfor them too, arose from the dead, and forgave them, just like he did for you and me.)
You are a shiny too. God knows when you shine your light to give faith and comfort, hope, love, food, clothing, and shelterto your neighbor as to yourself. God is especially fond of you when you are compassionate to the strangers and aliens among you. They are shinies too. May you be among the sheep when The Lord gathers the sheep and goats.
Scripture: Leviticus 19:33-34 and 24:22 – When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Scripture: Micah 6:8 – The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands: “See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.”
Scripture: Matthew 25:40, 45 – “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”.
Prayer: “God, give us all that we need from your abundance to fully rely on you, to obey your will, and to abstain from relying upon our own understanding. Thank You.”