Where’s My Bag?

By Mark Hopper

Recently, my son and I took a father son golf trip.  My wife came along to cook for us and to clean our golf clubs each day (just kidding).

My son and I enjoy playing golf and sharing time together.  He is a good golfer and can really hit the ball a mile.  His tee shots can be amazing and he hits his iron shots high and long onto the green.

Since we were traveling by plane, we both checked in our golf clubs at the ticket counter. We both use a “travel bag” to transport our golf clubs.  Some golfers use a “hard shell” travel case, but both my son and I use a soft, canvas case.  Both of ours are black.

When we arrived at our destination, we headed for baggage claim to pick up our clubs.  We always hold our breath hoping that our bags made it to our destination.  I suppose everyone who travels by plane has “lost” a suitcase or other luggage.  But, this time there was no problem.  We grabbed our golf bags and headed for the car rental center.

However, as I was signing papers for our rental car, my phone rang.  I handed my phone to my son so I would not be discourteous to the car rental employee.  The call was from a number that he didn’t recognize but he answered it any way.

I didn’t hear the conversation, but it did sound like something was wrong.  I hoped it wasn’t an emergency.  After getting the keys to our rental car, I asked my son what the phone call was all about.  He said that it was from someone at baggage claim at the airport.  They said they had my golf bag and wondered if we had picked up their bag by mistake!

We called them back and asked them to wait for us on the curb by baggage claim. We drove our rental car right back to the airport.

We didn’t know what the people looked like and they didn’t know us, but we found each other pretty quickly.  They were the people with the black, canvas golf travel bag.

Apparently, one of their travel bags was exactly like mine!  We had picked up their bag thinking that it was one of ours.  When they saw my bag, they thought it was theirs.  When they opened the travel bag, they quickly realized that the golf clubs inside were not theirs.  Thankfully, I had my name and phone number in one of the pockets of my golf bag.  That is how they knew how to call me.

Our travel bags were exactly the same.  The same brand and same color.  Identical.!  I am very thankful that they discovered our mistake and were able to contact us before we left the airport.  We might not have discovered our mistake until we got to a golf course a day or two later.  A potential disaster was averted!

I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover or a travel bag by its color.  It is wise to look inside and see what is there.  The same is true in dealing with people.  We should not judge them by their exterior.  The color of their skin or the clothes that they wear.  We need to look beyond the surface and get to know the real person on the inside.

In the Old Testament book of First Samuel, God warns his prophet Samuel that men look on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart (I Sam 16:9).  In the New Testament, Peter says that we should not just focus on our outward appearance (clothes, jewelry, hair) but focus on the hidden person of the heart (I Peter 3:1-6).

I know that most suitcases look alike and so do golf travel bags.  But, we need to remember that it is what is on the inside that counts. The same is true when we look at our neighbors, co-workers and classmates.

Pastor Mark Hopper
Efree Church of Diamond Bar
3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd
Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM


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