Only now at age 50 have I found my calling. I want to be an old bag. I’ll explain. If life were a bag, I’d want mine to look like this weathered leather briefcase.
I want to be worn from all the hands that found comfort in mine.
I want to be expanded from loads I’ve carried and hatchets I’ve buried.
I want my natural imperfections to reveal character and authenticity.
I want every scratch and scuff to lend tactile evidence of the hard landings, close calls, and times that taught me to trust.
I want to remember that the more God uses me, the better I’ll look and feel.
The particular bag that ignited this blog hangs on my former boss’s office door. It’s not used as much anymore because someone chided him into replacing it, into carrying a newer bag. I didn’t know that back story—that bag story—when I blurted out upon leaving his office, “That is the best bag I have ever seen.”
It was my exit interview from my church ministry position. “Would you like it?” he asked, earnestly offering to send me off with a tangible measure of his appreciation.
I have to admit my flesh flinched yes. Thankfully my heart knew better, and it made my mouth say, “Oh, thank you, but no. This bag has your years of ministry all over it—it should go to one of your kids.”
“It should?” he asked, bemused by the fuss over a well-worn bag.
That bag has held sermon notes, ministry plans, and funeral home addresses scribbled onto scraps of paper. It’s been eagerly tossed into the car and tenderly set down in hospital rooms. It bears the scars of ministry—some inflicted by the job and some inflicted by the mob. It’s held up under pressure and over time. That bag has held the book that holds the truths that make the man wise.
It’s a great bag.
As I walked down the stairs, leaning toward new ministry horizons that I can’t quite see yet, I decided to buy an over-the-shoulder leather bag. I might even get “old bag” branded into the tag. It’ll remind me of what I want to be when I grow up. It’ll remind me that the usefulness of genuine life far outlasts a fake. And it’ll remind me that daily wear and tear becomes a precious patina over time.
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