The Plain Brown Wrapper

It happened, while they were there, that the day had come that she should give birth. She brought forth her firstborn son, and she wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a feeding trough, because there was no room for them in the inn Luke 2:6 WEB.

The greatest gift that God ever gave mankind spent His first hours laying in a feeding trough for animals. Mary wrapped the baby Jesus in strips of cloth herself which meant that it was a lonely birth without others to help her. There was no room for them at the inn. It was a picture of poverty, obscurity, and rejection. The greatest event in history went almost unnoticed by those around it.

God is so secure in Himself that He does not need to impress anyone, and His word makes it clear that the pride of a man makes him blind to all that God has for him. The wisdom of man is foolishness to God (1 Corinthians 3:19). Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will exalt you (James 4:10). God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time (1 Peter 5:6).

How many times have we missed what God has for us because we felt that it was beneath us. Looking back over my life, God provided me the greatest opportunities wrapped in an humble, plain looking, brown paper wrapping. It looked beneath me, and my flesh wanted to complain and tell the people how important that I really was.

Once after being laid off from a high paying job (for me) as a supervisor, I ended up drawing unemployment and could not find another job anywhere. I searched for work every day, then spent time alone on the Waccamaw river fishing and listening to an audio Bible. During the last week of my unemployment, I was fishing and had caught nothing all day, when I stopped and prayed earnestly, 'Lord, I need a job. Anything, just open a door, but please let me be able to continue to listen to Your word while I work.' Soon after praying this, I caught the biggest bass that I had ever caught in my life. It was on the last cast of my last fishing trip that year.

When I got home, a temp service had called and said that they had an opening at 'Miracle Finishing' for a brass polisher, and they wanted me to come talk to the manager. The following day, I pulled up in my Toyota Supra wearing a black leather jacket and shades to find that it was a loud, dirty, hole in the wall housed in a hundred year old brick building. All the employees except the manager were temps, addicts, and nearly homeless. It was skid row, and they were all living day to day.

It was extremely hot in August and giant ghetto blasters roared above the already deafening machines in the dimly lit building. Car-sized belt sanders ran with no guards in place and would cut off limbs if you bumped into them. Sometimes the buffing machine would snatch the part away, then fire it back at you and knock you down. People sometimes smoked pot at the machines, and the manager came in hungover everyday of his life. Everyone there was just living for another Friday to come. It was a dirty, dark, hole-in-the-wall and everyone was covered in black buffing compound from the machines. The job paid a third of what my last job had. Everything in my flesh screamed 'There is no way this is God's plan for me!'

Yet that morning when I walked up to the manager, the first thing that he said was: 'Are you ready to start? Better bring something to listen to as it can get really boring in here.' At that moment the Holy Spirit brought my prayer back to my remembrance and said: 'This is what you asked Me for.' Through clenched lips I told the manager 'Yep.'

The turnover rate was infinite because most people did not last a week, many even left before their first lunch break. But I knew that it was God's will for me to be there, though it was still hard to keep my pride under control. 'I deserve better than this' was always inviting me to think about it.

I mentally made it into a game of working directly for God Himself, and I became a model employee. Bright, shining, and always early, my workspace was the cleanest in the building. I went home each day as black as smut from the buffing compounds, and my skin began to take on a greenish tint from the brass dust. My brother would stop by now and then and ask me, 'Dion, what in the world are you doing here?' and I would tell him, 'This is where God wants me at the moment.'

I fasted as much as I ate, listened to the Bible all day and prayed in the spirit while grinding out part after part. I started out running 300 parts a day, but was soon running 7,500. It was a mindless task of repetition, but it allowed me to listen to the Bible all day in my head phones and meditate on scripture while working. I began to love it.

After several months, one day I suddenly felt oil being poured over my head and spun around thinking that someone was pulling a prank on me, but there was no one there. The Lord had anointed me for something new. That was a turning point in my life, and things began to change around me. I lost over thirty pounds from the heat, fasting, sweating and hard work, but my spirit grew stronger and stronger.

When I humbled myself and followed the path that the Lord revealed to me, He raised me up quickly. I went straight to the top and became the manager of the brass plant. When the plant merged with another, He pushed me into my own computer business for the next decade.

Many years later when God began to shut my computer business down and I was unemployed again, I showed up for a church workday event. The only job left was to scrub all the bathrooms and toilets. No one had volunteered to do that one. I sensed that God was setting me up for something, so I did it wholeheartedly as if I were working for the Lord. I left those bathrooms sparkling clean behind me. About a month after, the Lord pushed me into full time ministry as a pastor.

These were humble doors that one would easily avoid, but it was His path for me. I can honestly say that the humble door hides a great future, and so many will pass it by while waiting for that management position to open that they so deserve. Be watchful and guard your mind. Learn that when the flesh begins to squeal, that God is beginning to move.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I seek Your path for me. Please let me see through Your eyes and fulfill Your every desire in my life. I yield to You and pray that You guide my every step. I want what You want for me, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.

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