It’s gone! It was right here in the desk drawer where I always put it. Oh… where I always put it. And someone must have been watching me through the glass from the public corridor… waiting for me to follow my usual morning routine that would take me to the back office to make coffee. Just enough time to steal my purse.
Purses contain valuable things. Or some do. And it depends on what you consider valuable. Money, keys, credit cards? Sure. But how about a fresh Kleenex to offer someone with a runny nose? Or a toothpick if you have something stuck in your teeth?
I was always amazed at the huge purses women brought to the TV game show “Let’s Make a Deal.” The host would offer a random woman in the audience $100 for some insignificant item if she had it in her purse. Most of the time they won the money, for who can tell what lies in the deep corners of a woman’s purse?
The Queen of England is known for her purses, mostly the same style, the short handles resting easily on her arm. She uses it as a tool to signal to her staff when it’s time to move on or to end a conversation. Word has it that her purse contains the usual “women’s items” of lipstick, mirror, reading glasses, Kleenex (I told you!), mints, various trinkets from her grandchildren, and a hook to hang her purse from that she sticks under the table when she sits down to eat. Oh, and a five pound note for the offering plate at church. Maybe ten pounds if she’s in a generous mood. She doesn’t carry money or credit cards. Not much of value in her purse.
Funny thing is, the thief who stole my purse found nothing of value to him either… Thirty-five cents and no credit cards. We didn’t have much money in those days, and there was no reason to have a credit card since we couldn’t afford to pay it off.
Years later a diaper bag became my purse when the children were babies. I’d just slip my wallet into that enormous satchel that never matched my outfit. Style came later when they were out of diapers.
“Here, Honey, put this in your purse.” Oh that’s a familiar request, especially when my husband needs a place for his sunglasses or car keys. On vacations I used to take an extra purse along as a catch all for brochures and papers we collected along the way.
I always wonder how women got stuck with carrying purses. It wasn’t always that way. In the Bible men commonly carried around purses (Proverbs 7:20; Luke 22:36). We hear the phrase “the power of the purse” and that doesn’t mean the ability to whack someone with it. It’s the “purse strings” that has the power. Everyone likes being in charge of that purse!
European men carry very stylish purses, and the trend has reached our American society in some areas, especially considering most men these days have quite a bit of everyday gear to transport.
I sometimes announce I’m not taking my purse when we leave the house. That’s to warn everyone not to depend on me as a depository for their personal items. I’ve thought ahead and know I’m not going to need much. What I take, I can just slip into my pocket.
Jesus sometimes told his disciples to carry a purse and sometimes not to. It depended on what they would need. He knew what they were facing so He prepared them. He reminded them later that He was right. Trust me! (Luke 22:35-36)
There was a scripture reading one Sunday morning that really caught my eye. It’s from Haggai 1:6. “… You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” Now I’ve had purses with holes in the lining. I thought I was missing something, but it had slipped through a tear. But this is talking about a hole in the purse itself.
What kind of purse is this? I’m thinking it isn’t about money at all. I’m thinking it isn’t a man’s or woman’s purse stuffed with important or useless items.
This purse perhaps is my life, my existence, my character, who I am… my soul even. That which holds the important things I need. Maybe it’s my relationship with my Savior. The Lord could be telling me that I’m too worried about my purse being stylish or worried that it won’t contain everything I could possibly need.
Sometimes I feel like my purse has a hole in it… or more than one. The things I work for, try to accomplish, spend my time on can slip right through that hole and my energy vanishes as well.
My Lord wants me to pay attention to the quality of both… the purse itself and what I put into it. Otherwise I’m wasting my time… and His gifts. Either I can’t hold onto what’s important or I’m stuffing a wonderful life with useless pursuits.
I hear His voice, the same one the disciples heard: “I’ll tell you what you need and when to be concerned. I’ll even provide you with a life that can hold an abundance of blessings. Things that you may not even recognize as being valuable… but I do. You’re mine and so are your days. Trust me.”