Last week I was walking through the big REI store in Denver Colorado.  For those of you who don’t know REI, it’s only the largest outdoor (and I truly mean outdoor) store for camping, hiking, biking, and all things in the woods.

So I was walking through the store, coveting all the cool gear, (Yup, that’s confession time), and I started talking with one of my friends.

“I wonder how many people come in this store and just buy all the stuff they ‘think’ they’ll need for the adventure.  You know, the fly-fisherman who has to buy the net, the waders, the rod, the flys, the goo, the glasses, and then top it off with one of those awesome fly-fishing hats.  You could drop $2000.00 without blinking in this store.” I said out loud.

“You know, I have a friend who worked here.”  my friend started to tell me the story. “You should hear about some of the people who come to REI.  He told me about a guy who was obviously out of shape come to the counter and ask for assistance.  ‘I’m climbing my first 14’er tomorrow and I need the whole kit.'”

I could almost see the punchline of the story  in my friend’s smile.

“OK, sir, you’re probably going to need some good boots and a water bottle.” the clerk said.

“No, I need the whole kit.  It’s my first 14’er.” the man insisted.

The clerk spent the next half hour gearing the man up with boots, zip off pants, a dry whicking shirt, special wool socks, glasses, a fit bit, and one of those huge hats that scream ‘I’m a tourist.’

My friend and I just started to laugh.  How many times have we seen that person who is trying to start something new?  They really don’t have any idea what they’re doing, but they see all the ‘stuff’ posted in the magazines and peruse the latest gadgets in the store seemingly feeling the need to outfit themselves with the ‘whole kit.’

Colorado isn’t that different from other places around the world.
New Bikers always have to have the ‘whole kit,’ before they buy a bike.
New Scuba divers spend thousands of dollars to buy the latest gadgets.
New Hunters shop at Cabelas and Bass Pro to get the newest camo for hunting season.
Everybody has their hobby where they buy the ‘whole kit,’ but when do we take the time to get down to what really matters?

After our short laugh I started thinking, how many people are walking around searching for the ‘whole kit’ of life.  They buy new houses and fast cars.  They dress in the latest fashion and try to fit in whatever social network they’re a part of.  But what ever happened to the Real You?  Have you ever taken the time to sit and reflect about all the GOOD inside you?

Recently I’ve been involved in a theological conversation with another friend who constantly tells everyone around they are the worst.  He continually touts how humanity is evil, and there’s nothing good inside of a man except what God can give.  He backs up his claim with all kinds of Bible talk, and I must agree; there’s a lot of places in the Bible that talk about how humanity has issues.

But what of, “And God created him in His image?”

Have we forgotten, those of us who believe in a God who created mankind, that God creates Good stuff?

We don’t need to put on the latest fashion.
We don’t need to continue beating ourselves up.
We don’t need to live in self deprecation all the time.
We can be honest.
We can be faithful.
We can look deep into the heart of humanity and find the good.
Sure, we have issues, and the Bible talks about the departure from God’s original intent.  But when can we just sit in the presence of a creator and be thankful?

When is it time to just be thankful for waking up today?
When is it time to recognize the air in our lungs in another gift?
When is it time to be thankful for the friends around who care for you?
When can we sit back and be confident in a posture that God really likes you?
He likes me?
He loves us today as much as he’s ever loved us, no matter what we’ve done.

At the risk of being criticized for being too positive, I think it’s time we begin sharing the good stuff, instead of always focusing on what we should be.  And let me be clear…

You were created by the maker of the Universe.
You were given a life unimaginable to anyone else.
You are in the presence of a God who cares deeply for whatever circumstance you find yourself.
You can make a difference in the world by just being you.
And you don’t need anything else.

You are the ‘whole kit.’

1 Comment

  1. Yes, you, too, are the whole deal, Mr. Braner. Thank you for this excellent reminder for the rest of us “whole deals!!!” 😉

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