I guarantee you that Janet and all three kids are laughing before they even read tonight’s post. That’s because I am an Orvis addict. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the brand, Orvis dates back to 1856 and made its mark in the world with fly fishing equipment and other gear for outdoors sporting events. Throughout the years, they have also embraced hunting, sporting dogs, exotic trips to distant fishing destinations and more recently, great clothing, primarily for men, but also including women.
Probably my favorite stuff in the line is their luggage. It’s built to last and my favorite pattern is what is called Battenkill; named after the river that flows near their headquarters in Manchester, Vermont. It is traditional green canvas trimmed in brown leather – great stuff – but then remember that I am an addict…… It even has a lifetime guarantee and is virtually indestructible. Throughout the years, Janet and I have replaced out entire luggage collection with Battenkill. We could sell luggage to Orvis we have so much of it… But it’s one of those things that just resonates with me and I love great luggage as much as I like going to hardware stores – no, more than going to hardware stores.
Jill, in particular, as well as Pat and Susan, our neighbors, give me gift cards to my favorite store on special occasions. In fact, wait, let me check…… yes, I have several Orvis gift cards in my wallet right now. You know, just in case I see something that I just have to get and don’t have extra budget for the month….. And my son-in-law, Tom, who is Jill’s husband, is a convert as well. He has to get to Orvis each time he visits us in Carmel to check out the latest stuff, and I must confess, he owns several pieces of Battenkill that I would have if I was younger and could lug the stuff around. Sure, you can go online at Orvis.com, but it’s not the same as visiting one of their company stores, and we are fortunate enough to have one in Carmel in a shopping area called Clay Terrace.
By the way, I’m not alone. Those of us who love Orvis can spot one another across a room, or an airport for that matter. And ironically, the only time I spot Battenkill luggage on the road is when I travel to Dallas. It’s great because you can always spot your stuff on the luggage conveyers and it doesn’t get confused with all that Tumi stuff that almost every businessman carries on flights – especially in first class.
So imagine my joyful surprise this morning when I got upgraded to first class and entered the plane. Immediately, I spotted two pieces of Battenkill – one in the overhead bin and a matching briefcase belonging to the man who would be sitting next to me for the ride to Dallas. Sure enough, as soon as he saw me moving down the aisle, he stopped me and inquired about my computer roller case. I gave him my thoughts and he said they were consistent with the feedback from the website. I knew I had met a fellow addict.
Of course, we exchanged a handshake and spent the first thirty minutes of the flight talking Orvis. Just to drive the point home, as I write this tonight, I am in Orvis jeans, an Orvis shirt, with an Orvis travel sportcoat and of course, my Orvis luggage. In fact, I could have also bought my shoes there, but I happened to get them somewhere else. But my fellow passenger remarked on the clothing line as well and happens to shop at the same store that I do. It made for a most enjoyable flight….
But aside from all that, the fellow was one of the kindest older gentlemen I have ever met. He was humble, gracious, travels every week, and the flight this morning was his 51st flight of the year so far. He thanked the flight attendants, was conversational with me and when we departed, he even left an American Airlines recognition testimonial for the first class flight attendant. I was so glad that I had the chance to converse with him.
Now I’m sure that every Orvis customer isn’t so nice, but the majority of them that I have met all seem to be cut from the same cloth – and all of them are interested in your story about how you came to be an Orvis addict. And that brings me to tonight’s theme – the fact that many times, you can spot people who believe in the power of God. Like a fraternity, or brotherhood, people who are fully devoted followers of Christ have similar traits. Of course there are some bad apples from time to time, but you have a sense when someone is a pretender or when they are the real thing.
The verse for tonight comes from 1 Peter, the book written about how to reach out to everyone, particularly those who are suffering, and represent the kingdom of God in the process. We are told in 1 Peter 2:17, “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” Pretty elementary, don’t you think?
My encouragement this evening is for you to reach out and respect everyone, regardless of whether they are believers in God or not. But we are to love those who are part of the brotherhood of believers, and honor Christ in the process. My prayer is that you will constantly look for those people who belong to the same king that you do. It’s kind of like being on the look-out for people who shop at Orvis, only infinitely more important. Grace and peace,