I knew some traveling salesmen from my previous occupation.  I’d say they’re about 50/50 on character.  And, believe me, I’ve been fooled by a lot of ‘em.  They do eventually, over time, spill their beans.  Most all of them live out of the car trunk making the trunk just an overgrown purse for these fellas—it is their life’s sum total of  being (clothing, products, self entertainment, refreshments …etc).  You could  tell a lot about their poor lives as you would look into their trunks (at their invitation).  Disorganized trunks indicated a guy that wasn’t going to be with the company long.  Organized trunks were indicators of either a slower paced life, just getting started, or he knew what he was doing.  In half of those trunks there was a combination in varying degrees of porn, alcohol, and/or drug paraphenalia.  One unsheepishly showed me his ‘black book’ of women for each town he visits.  I asked him about the ring on his finger and he said that he was only married when he was home (I wondered if his wife was married when he was gone).   Like I said I’ve been fooled a lot. 

   I got an urgent call from my preacher at 10am on a Monday.   “Mark, had a head-on at 7:58am.  Critical in ICU.  It doesn’t look good.”  I got to the hospital after work and the church family, already there in great number, surrounded Mark’s family in comfort, prayer, and ‘just being there’.

  The next morning I was volunteered to go to Mark’s company car and clean out his belongings. 

  Mark’s trade is a traveling salesman for a veterinary pharmaceutical company.  I want to remind you that I’ve been fooled quite a bit before about traveling salesmen and I really was afraid of what I would find in Mark’s ‘trunk-of-life.’  I will list Mark’s ‘life-inventory’ at the time of collision—7:58am, Monday.

  In the front seat area were his alligator skin shoes and a shattered coffee mug with the company logo (both a testimony to the violent collision).  His planner book for the day, week, month, year.  The planner was filled with appointments—Vets to see, places to go, motels, hotels, important phone numbers, favorite restaurants—and receipts.  The receipts tell where Mark had been and bought (just food and soft drinks—no bars or clubs).  Sundays were also noted with people’s names (his prayer list).  His Bible lay open on the floor.  Various and extensive passages were marked and highlighted.  Also present were his notes for teaching Sunday School, the church bulletin, a printed church prayer list with check marks by certain names (prayers answered). In the console were religious music tapes (no CDs at the time),  Aspirin,  gum, some pens, and loose change.  The radio was tuned to the local Christian radio station.   In the back seat were Mark’s clothes on hangers (lying everywere) a brief case (which fell open—it contained company brochures only). 

   Moving to the trunk were more brochures, a large torn box of spilled veterinary pharmaceutical samples and a split-open suitcase.  The suitcase contained clothes (of course), an 8×10 framed picture of the family, a smaller framed picture of each child, a larger framed picture of the wife—all the glass was broken.  Drinks were in the trunk—all soft-drinks or water—and a few munchies.   

  All of these items I recovered and returned to Mark’s wife—happily.  Mark was genuine.  He did pull through.

      Prov 19:23 “Fear-of-God is life itself, a full life, and serene — no nasty surprises” (The Message).

What would happen if at 7:58am, on a Monday, life was interrupted and your inventory was taken??  

   Yes…it will happen…someday.


Roy Platt is minister of Jennings Church of Christ in Jennings, LA.