1 This is what the LORD said to me: “Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.” 2 So I bought a belt, as the LORD directed, and put it around my waist.
3 Then the word of the LORD came to me a second time: 4 “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath [e] and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.” 5 So I went and hid it at Perath, as the LORD told me.
6 Many days later the LORD said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.” 7 So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.
Jeremiah 13:1-7 (NIV)
This scripture just jumped off the page at me when reading this. This scripture has so many applications. In this case, God was trying to teach Jeremiah a lesson through a parable, but a scripture like this just proves that even the Old Testament can have timely advice for us even though it was written thousands of years ago. Sometimes, I find it difficult to weed through much of the Old Testament as there is so much verbiage in it that just doesn’t seem pertinent to today’s time (I guarantee that there is more timely advice and wisdom in there than I notice). I was praying about this blog post for there to be a clear message to jump out and this was the unquestioned leader.
This has a clear application in my mind. The first thing that comes to mind is that linen belt is our faith. What happens when we bury it away until we need it? What happens when we try to hoard our faith and not share it? Well, it gets ruined. It gets unusable.
What happens when we hoard our time, our money, our possessions? Again, just like then linen belt, it just gets ruined.
I often wonder how many times that I have had the opportunity to share my “linen belt” with someone and I just missed the opportunity? Not only that, but what were the consequences and what could have happened if I had not hidden it? I think of a specific time when a man approached me at a restaurant parking lot in Jackson, TN. He told me a story about having travelled back on a trip and he was finishing the trip home to Lexington, TN, about 40 minutes away. He had no money and he needed gas and was parked at the Walmart gas station adjacent to the restaurant we were at. I gruffly brushed him off like I have done numerous panhandlers over the years. I never even stopped to consider that this may have been Jesus asking me for help and compassion in the middle of my work day. Even the two gentleman I was with, neither Christians, felt I was pretty rough and cruel with him. To this day, I wish I had just taken my debit card and put it in the gas pump and told him to fill up, bought him a cold drink, and said may Jesus be with you. That day I buried my linen belt and I still regret it. I think of how many other times that I have hidden my linen belt away, and what kind of blessings have been missed by me, or by someone else.
Dear Lord, please don’t let me hide my linen belt away, only to have it ruined. I want to follow you and show people your love and mercy. Please don’t let me miss any more opportunities like the one I posted above. Amen.
From the archives. Originally published August 17, 2009.