Encouragement for Today - September 16, 2005


September 16

Encouragement for Today


“It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts”

Sharon Jaynes, Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries Radio, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member


Key Verse:


2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (NIV)




My husband, son, and I had traveled to Cancun, Mexico for a vacation.  It was fun family time, but the trip home was grueling.  The airport was full of hot, sweaty, smelly vacationers anxious to return home.  Unfortunately, because of various delays, the flight was rescheduled for a later time.  Filled to capacity, the darkness of the night could not hide the fact that the aircraft was old, dirty, and decrepit.  It didn’t matter that the flight crew spoke little English, because the plane was so loud that we couldn’t hear what was said anyway.  My son kept insisting, “Mom, when we walked by the plane to get on, I saw duct tape on the left rear wing!”  When the flight attendant demonstrated the emergency procedures, we all paid very close attention.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I ever remember seeing such an attentive group of passengers. 


After we were finally airborne, the flight attendant announced that because of flight delays, the Charlotte customs office, our final destination, would be closed when we arrived.  So we had to stop over in Florida at the Orlando airport to go through US customs. 


At midnight, 90 hot, tired, disgruntled passengers disembarked, checked their carry-ons through customs, picked up their luggage at the baggage claim, checked it through customs, and then returned to board the same rickety plane.  This didn’t sound too complicated, except for one problem: one of our suitcases, containing my husband and son’s dirty clothes, did not make it to baggage claim.  It was missing, probably somewhere back in Mexico.  We were a little upset, but filled out the necessary claim form for lost luggage, hoping for the best.  After all, it was only clothes, and dirty ones at that.


The next day as he settled down for some quiet time with the Lord, my husband reached for his Bible.  But it was nowhere to be found. 


“Honey, have you seen my Bible?” he asked.  “I can’t find it anywhere!”  As soon as he finished his sentence, he remembered where he had put it.  His Bible was in the lost suitcase with all the dirty clothes.  Suddenly, the suitcase was no longer unimportant.  This was the Bible that I had given to him on our honeymoon, the Bible that I had rebound on our tenth anniversary, the Bible with study notes written on every page.  We began to pray.  We called and asked others to pray.  We had to get that suitcase back!


As I spoke to the Lord about the suitcase, He spoke to my heart.  Isn’t it amazing how the realization of what was inside the suitcase changed its value?  So it is with My people.  You may look at someone and see only filthy rags, but I see a beautiful creation and a possible dwelling place for My Son, and that makes them valuable.


Never again will I look at the dirty and downtrodden the same way.  I realized that day that each person has great value as a possible container of something – Someone very special – Jesus Christ, God’s own Son.  Now when I see such a person, I try to imagine, as though I had X-ray vision, a little black Bible hidden somewhere among the clutter, and I can see them as my Heavenly Father sees them – treasured,  valuable, and precious.


My Prayer for Today:


Father, help me to remember that beautiful treasures are often contained in most unlikely packages.  Help me to view each person in my world with Your eyes, speak to them with Your words, and reach out to them with Your hands.  Thank You that You saw fit to turn my cluttered sinful life into a treasured vessel for Your Son.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps:


Do you enjoy collecting jewelry or other small items of great value?  You can turn each one of these personal treasures into a prayer and ministry opportunity.  You will need the following:

  • 5-10 of your favorite valuables and a safe place to put them, yet visible so you don’t forget that they have a purpose for this activity.
  • 5-10 names of people you have a desire to begin seeing as God’s treasures.  These may be people that have not accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.  They may be people who do know Christ, yet you have a difficult time loving or viewing as valuable to God.  There may also be someone who you know who has a difficult time loving themselves or seeing their life with value and purpose.
  • A pen or pencil
  • A pad of small-sized sticky notes or label tabs


  1. Write the name of each person, separately, on a sticky-note or label tab.
  2. Then place each sticky-note/label tab on a separate valuable.
  3. Place the valuable/s where you will see it daily, and commit to pray for each person listed on each object accordingly.


Reflection Points:


As you pray for each person, consider the following:

What is keeping you from viewing this person as God does?

What circumstances are they facing right now that may make it hard for them to believe that God truly cares about them?

Ask God to move in their life in such a way that they would come to know Him personally, and to bear fruit so all can clearly see that God dwells inside and out. 


Power Verses:


2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (NIV)


Acts 11:2-3; 16-18, “So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, ‘You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them’…Then I remembered what the Lord had said.  So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?  When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.’” (NIV)


Isaiah 54:6 “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (NIV)


Additional Resources:


At Home With God,by Sharon Jaynes



The Ultimate Makeover, by Sharon Jaynes



P31 Woman Magazine


Originally published Friday, 16 September 2005.