I’m not sure if I should tell you this story, but since we’ve become good friends through the years, I think you’ll enjoy it.
Not long ago, my wife had a department store gift card that was about to expire. Since we were leaving on vacation, I suggested that she use it to buy some new clothes for our trip. We went to the department store and looked around … and around … and around.
She was having a hard time finding something she liked, so I mentioned that if she really couldn’t find anything, I could use another pair of underwear. We men are blessed because we only have to buy underwear once every 10 years or when the elastic wears out (which is usually every 10 years). She found something at last, and we came home.
The next morning I got up at 6:30 to take my walk. I put on my headphones, laced up my tennis shoes and headed out into our neighborhood. I have come to enjoy these walks and the time alone before the rush of the day. This particular morning, I had just passed the two-mile mark when I turned the corner and, from a distance, noticed something lying in the middle of the street.
As I got closer, I saw it was a package still sealed in plastic. Wondering what it could be, I picked it up and turned it over. There, stamped on the front, was “One pair, Fruit of the Loom® Men’s Underwear.”
I stood in the middle of the street scratching my head. Just the night before, I had told my wife I needed a new pair of underwear. I began thinking: Under what circumstances would someone lose a package of newly-purchased underwear in the middle of the street? Was the package sitting in the back of a pickup when the truck hit a bump and it popped out? Was someone walking home from the store, and the underwear fell out of the bag?
I couldn’t come up with any logical reason for my find. I stood there wondering what to do next. I decided against going door to door: “Sorry to bother you, but are you missing a pair of men’s underwear?” I considered putting up flyers on the neighborhood telephone poles next to all the “Have you seen this dog?” signs. My flyers would show a picture of the package and the words, “Are you missing a pair?” But I didn’t think my wife would want people calling our house to ask about underwear.
Since I didn’t know what to do, I brought the package home. You should have seen the look on my wife’s face when she asked, “How was your walk this morning?” and I answered, “I got a new pair of underwear!” I didn’t know if they were my size or not, so I opened the package and sure enough, they were.
I’ve tried to think of a theological application for this underwear incident. Was the package like manna in the wilderness, where God provided each morning for the needs of the Israelites? I don’t think so. Was it an answer to prayer? I don’t think I’ve ever prayed for any type of clothing, let alone underwear, so I don’t think so. Was God guiding me as I walked, and if I had taken a different street I would have missed out? I don’t think so. I walk the same route every morning. Did God cause someone to lose a new pair of underwear so I could have it instead? I don’t think so. Did God plan this before the foundation of the world? I don’t think so.
I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, but I know lots of people who would spiritualize this event and tell me God put that pair of underwear in the street that day just for me. I don’t think so, but since I came into possession of it, I do think I have a spiritual responsibility.
Matt. 25:31-46 tells about two groups. The King would not let one group into heaven, but He let the other group enter. Why the difference? Both groups called him “lord,” but to the group He let in, He said, “I needed clothes and you clothed me” (v. 36). To those He didn’t let in, He said, “I needed clothes and you did not clothe me” (v. 46). So what will I do with that pair of underwear? I intend to use it to bless someone who needs it more than I do.
The Christian life is not always about trying to figure out why something happens, but about bearing fruit when it does. And who knows when that fruit will become “Fruit of the Loom?”
*Photo Credit: 360b / Shutterstock.com