Wednesday is upon me, one of my days off this week and a day when I should be getting much accomplished. I have lived in my teeny little house for over a month now and I love it but I have too much stuff, right? As you can see, I have a lot of things...
I have things I have no idea why I keep, but I do it anyway. Maybe it is sentimental value, too lazy to take to the Mission Store, or just undecided. Perhaps some of each. I know in my heart that there are people who could use some of this stuff. For example, I have 3 shower curtains, 4-5 bath mats, and enough books to open my own library. I keep reflecting on one particular scripture...
"You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." (Mark 10:21 ESV)
I like to believe I am already following Him, but in fact, as you can see, I am not, well, not completely anyway. I have too many things.
During a recent blizzard, I saw a neighbor outside who had moved here from western Oregon in August. She was wearing a hoodie, and from the looks of it, it belonged to her husband.
I am ashamed to admit it, but it took me over a week to grasp what I had seen and realized I could and should step up and do something about that situation. I went to my coat closet thinking I would find a jacket for her, but my hands right to a good black wool coat. As I walked down the court to her house I had to fight the urge to turn around. I had a brief argument with myself concerning whether I needed the coat more than she did or not but as usual that bossy voice kept me on track.
I knocked on their door and when she opened it I said, "Hi, I was wondering if you could use this?" Her face lit up and the moments following that are a blur but they served as a wonderful reminder that giving is most defiantly better than receiving...
A few days later I was listening to one of Louie Giglio's Passion Series talks and he was focusing on how as Christians many of us get so excited about God and giving and helping others that we decide we want to become pastors or go on a mission trip. Many of us have a mission trip on our Bucket Lists, right? I can't lie, I have always wanted to go on such a trip. However, Louie made me stop and reflect on that desire.Maybe it is what the Lord is calling us to do, however, before we go off on a very expensive trip to an exciting destination, we should stop and consider how we can be a missionary to the people on our own blocks or in our own towns.
Louie spoke of people who are rude or thoughtless to their neighbors and friends and are totally oblivious of the people around them. He spoke of the guy who won't cross the hall to apologize to his neighbor for a loud party or for having taken his parking spot but wants to go to Ethiopia to serve others, and of the woman who goes to feed the homeless while wearing a full regalia of diamonds. How about the person oblivious to the woman trying to open a door with full arms and on and on.
Wow, it got me thinking about some other things, like when I drive down the street to my house, am I aware of what's going on around me? Does my older neighbor or the one with all the little children need a hand carrying in her groceries? Does their sidewalk need to be shoveled?
Then I took a peek at my more personal attributes, the stuff relating to my own life and my relationships with others. Are all of my fences mended? Am I being hardhearted to someone for foolish reasons? Am I too prideful? Is all of my behavior pleasing to God? Is He proud of me? Am I loving on people the way Jesus wants me to? I know I am forgiven, but am I doing what He would want me to do?
If answering these questions makes us flush with shame or we want to change the subject, perhaps they need attending to. Our lives are like gardens, and as with any garden, we have weeds...those weeds being behavioral traits that we are sometimes embarrassed by. Keeping it real means realizing that we are in full view of Jesus every single moment. He sees all of our weeds, nothing escapes him. Makes you want to have a beautiful weed free garden, doesn't it? There is no time like the present to start weeding. Loving on people starts within us and as we pray about it and receive the grace that only Jesus is capable of giving us, we become more aware of our weeds and develop a deeper kindness and desire to love on others and develop J (Jesus) O (others) Y (yourself) in our own hearts and lives.