Jan 14, 2010

The Pocket Knife

In 2004, while flying from Colorado Springs to St. Louis, I lost my pocket knife. After standing in line for thirty minutes, I arrived at the screening checkpoint. I placed the contents of my pocket into the little container and prepared to go through the x-ray machine. It was then that I was called over by a Transportation Security Administration staff member.


“Excuse me, sir, you aren't allowed to bring this pocket knife on the plane”, the man informed me.

“But, I've taken that knife on flights before. Are you sure it is illegal?”, I asked.

“Oh yes. If you want to go back outside there's a post office. You can mail it to yourself”.

“No. If I do that, I'll be late for my flight. Keep it.”


The man took the knife and placed it in a large container. It had a small opening and as the knife dropped into the opening I heard it fall on other confiscated items. I was not the first to lose something to airport security. They had confiscated quite a booty.


“What do you do with all that stuff”, I asked.

“We throw it away.”


That seemed a little ridiculous to me. That knife costs at least twenty dollars. If the container was full of knives it could be sold. The money could be used to dramatically decrease the national debt. Call it a tax on bureaucratically-challenged citizens.


Apparently, thousands of articles are confiscated from airlines across the US each year. In September, the New York Post reported that the TSA had confiscated 123,000 items so far this year from just the three main New York City airports. An accounting of the items included 43 explosives, 1,600 knives, a 10-point deer antler, several fire extinguishers, a tree branch, nunchucks, a grill, a baby alligator, a gassed-up chain saw and... a kitchen sink.


This doesn't include the gallons and gallons of gels, creams, and shampoos that were found in containers bigger than 3 ounces. I could outfit a small village with the liquids that I have lost to TSA staff.


Oh well. I suppose it makes us safer. We certainly wouldn't want someone flying with a gassed-up chainsaw or a live baby alligator. Although, if the alligator got loose, I sure wouldn't mind having a chainsaw.


At Christmas time, we pause to remember that Jesus entered this world with nothing. He had no guns, explosives or chainsaws. And yet, he was able to heal the sick, the lame, the deaf and the blind. He did it all without a pocket knife or a kitchen sink. As we begin a new year, remember that He gives us everything we need in this world to do the work He has called us to.


Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Pastor David Hook

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