“No, no, not that one. Give me another…”
Imagine our surprise yesterday morning when we opened a package sent from sweet friends in Vienna, Austria. In fact, our friend was on the phone in Vienna as Tom carefully cut the tape here in Tennessee. Now, you can imagine our friend’s confused expression as he, too, saw what was in the box.
After careful examination with the help of the post office personnel in the afternoon, it was noted someone had perfectly cut the label from the priority package now in the box addressed to us. The contents of our intended package were gone, nowhere in sight. Four kilos of Austrian coffee and chocolates had been removed and replaced with this lightweight priority package.
We were sad, of course. We have never given up our appreciation and delight for this coffee since we returned to the states eleven years ago. And someone loves us enough to insure we have this precious gift. We open coffee packages for birthdays and Christmas… this time for Easter!
We decided to Google what we had received in place of the coffee. The more Tom researched this Watchmen #1, DC Comics, September ’86, in its tightly enclosed case, we pondered everyone’s loss in this situation. Tom found one copy identical to ‘our gift’ listed on the Internet for a whole lot of money!
It is a terrible shame this couldn’t have been a signed copy… it would be valued in the thousands. The person who had made the swap, yes, does have delicious coffee, and a few chocolates… but at what expense?
On that Friday, over two thousand years ago, the people shouted, “No, no, not Him! Give us Barabbas.” John 18:40. Barabbas was a robber, considered a rebel. It is interesting to note that his name, only mentioned in all four gospels in this one context at Jesus’ trial, means son of the father. He is called Jesus Barabbas. Did those shouting realize they had just chosen a counterfeit?
Did the employee in the Memphis International Customs Post office center know he/she was exchanging some expensive coffee (cost and cost of mailing) with something much more valuable? They had no idea; they simply made a quick decision to swap something they could see and smell… we think a bit of coffee may have spilled out… and replaced it with something they could not see but would fit neatly into the now empty box.
The intended recipient has lost his order or a gift for the amount he paid. He has lost the opportunity to add this comic book to his collection. The package was insured, but there are no tracking numbers. How long before he is compensated; is there a way to find the name and address that was meticulously removed by a razor?
We have lost our coffee; our friends are out their expense for the contents and heavy postage.
In this analogy of an exchanged life, it is the worker in Customs that has lost the most. We will forget he or she committed a crime for now, and consider the fact they could have chosen much more. He may have acted on a well- thought out plan, but he missed the best… if we are talking money.
“No, no, not Him. Give me freedom, give me riches, give me instant gratification, give me what I want… NOW”. How often we swap something tangible for what we can’t see. How often we choose what the world dictates? Not what our heart is sensing…
On this Good Friday, I encourage you to open the package addressed to you… only addressed to you. Make certain no one opens your gift, removes the contents and replaces what is yours and sends you something more valuable according to the standards of the world, but in reality, is worthless. A signed copy is highly valuable, and your gift has been signed.