Karl Kissner was cleaning out the attic in his grandparent’s home in 2012 when he came across a dirty little shoebox. It had been wedged inside of a dusty old dollhouse.
Nothing seemed remarkable about this box from the outside. It was old and covered with dust. One might even have ignored it. But Karl was feeling curious so he dusted off the box and opened it.
That’s when he found one of the greatest surprises he’d had in his life: He found some old baseball cards wrapped together with twine.
Some of the names were recogizable. He found cards for Honus Wagner, Cy Young and Ty Cobb. But, they just didn’t look right. These cards were much smaller than what he was accustomed too.
So, Karl sat the shoebox aside for a couple of weeks before getting back to it again. Karl’s grandfather, who died in the 1940s, had owned a store and this little box had been stored in the attic with some other things from that store. The shoebox had never been opened.
What Karl had set aside is what sports collectors are calling one of the most significant discoveries in recent history. These cards, in amazing condition, are from a rare 1910 baseball card series. The estimated price for the contents of this shoebox? Nearly $3 million!
According to Karl, “It’s like finding the Mona Lisa in the attic.”
I like that story and maybe it’s because I’ve always had a hope that one day I could be Karl. I’d love to open a box and find that tremendous treasure and connection to history. I’m guessing that he’s probably thinking, “Why did I leave it alone for two weeks?”
In this story, I think we can find an awesome image of the way that God loves us.
In fact, it really brings to mind some words from 2 Corinthians 4:7 when Paul lays out the importance of the Gospel and how it brings light into the darkness and then he says it this way: “… we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)
It’s a lesson about who we are and who God is. On the outside, we might feel as if we are broken and hurting and discarded. We might look at ourselves and others and see little to no hope.
Maybe we’ve heard hurtful words or been given plenty of reasons to doubt ourselves. It can be that we have low self worth or we have been crushed by unrealistic expectations. Sometimes we’re willing to simply set ourselves aside because we don’t think we are worthy of God’s love.
But God’s loves goes much deeper than the surface. He sees past the dirt and bruises and the scars and the tears and the pain and the pride. He sees straight to our hearts.
You might want to lean in for this one. I’m going to give you one of the most unbelievable and mind-blowing things about God’s love and our broken shells. God is a God of presence (the Bible calls that Emmanuel) and God chooses to be present in our broken, cracked, bent, scuffed, fragile shells.
We might feel we don’t look like much from the outside, but God is at work in all of us. The fact that God is at work in us is a testimony to the power and love of God.
Sometimes, I write things because I want to study a particiular book or share a particular story. Sometimes, I write things because I choose a topic and go for it. But, most of the time, I write things because they speak about who I am and what I’ve experienced.
On the outside, I’m a broken shell, fragile and healing, (you can call me a “cracked pot” or “crackpot” if you want). Yet, no matter how I feel about what I see in the mirror in the morning, I know that God is still with me, still working in me, still providing me chances and opportunities to share God with others.
So, maybe, if that’s where you are today, or you know someone who is there, this can be a word of hope. God places great treasures in common, ordinary, everyday containers.
And that alone is worth more than $3 million worth of baseball cards found in the attic.
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