“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 11:15)
If you purchase one of his books, you will also get his personal cell number located at the back of the book. Bob Goff, author of Love Does, Everybody Always, and Dream Big believes it is his responsibility to act like Jesus; that is, to be available and to love your neighbor. Jesus identifies with those who are hungry, thirsty, in need of clothing and shelter, sick or in prison (Matthew 25:35-36). Goff does as well, so much that he spends part of his time teaching at San Quentin Penitentiary. One day he received a phone call from a man who had been imprisoned there and was standing outside looking at the facility from which he had just been released. When Goff asked him what he was thinking – his thoughtful response was . . . “I’ve got pockets.” Fully aware that you can’t wear anything with pockets when you are incarcerated, Goff’s reply was simply – “Well be careful what you put in them.”
I don’t know about you, but I would have a difficult time functioning without pockets. I love my cargo pants, particularly when I travel. Each pocket is methodically equipped with things that I need to have at my immediate disposal. The word itself has taken on various references over the years. If you or the organization you represent are known for having “deep pockets” – then you are credited for having substantial financial resources. Then there are others who are known for “lining their pockets,” meaning to accumulate money using dishonest or illegal methods. God had a message about pockets as well when He spoke through His prophet Haggai to the nation of Israel whose people were justifying that the time had not yet come and for them to re-build the temple. Therefore, God rebuked them by saying: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!” (Haggai 1:4-6).
A current-day lesson might be lifted out of this situation. When we concentrate on ourselves too much and continue to remain dissatisfied, we might do well to refocus on getting in tune with God. The way to repair a pocket with holes in it is to invest in your future by doing His work. That’s the way a leading financial institution promotes the benefit of using their credit card by asking, “So what’s in your wallet?” A similar inquiry could be made about what might be found in our pockets. Most of us put things in our pockets that we want to hold onto, often times having have little if any value except to us. Remember those days when your pockets might have been filled with random scraps of plastic, a pebble or seashell, some coins, a scrunchie, a marble, pieces of melted candy, or gummy bears? As we grew older we became more strategic about our contents, but none were more joyful than the pocket stuff of our childhood.
Perhaps we need to consider returning to any earlier time and load up our imaginary pockets with things that will bring us the simple joys of life again. If something makes you smile, tuck it away. Then when you are having one of those difficult days, pull it back out. When someone brings happiness into your life, enjoy the moment fully, slip it away into that flap pocket, and remember where you stashed it when the world looks bleak. When you feel blessed, loved, and valued – zip it up in that special pocket where it can’t fall out for you might just need the reminder very soon. Those special pockets are blessings that get us through, little ‘God-winks’ that He sends our way at the right time. When life can be all-consuming and it feels like the valleys outnumber the hills, those pockets of joy will refresh you. As you are revived, make yourself available to do work for the pleasure and honor of God. “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap” (Luke 6:38). It’s a recipe for true happiness. So . . . just what is in your pocket?
REFLECTION: How many resources has God given you that you are merely holding in your pocket or perhaps wasting as you allow them to carelessly slip through the holes? If you were to ask each day, what can I give away from my pocketful of treasures, how much more fulfilled would your life be? Consider taking an inventory of your many blessings and how you might actively share them through God’s work?