Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Craig’s List has proven to be quite a time saver – and this week a medium for helping people. You may be unimpressed at my revelation, but there are real people selling those items! A few months back I bought a car via Craig’s List. As I blogged, the gentleman was in a world of hurt and needed the cash far more than the car.
This week I gave away a few items. Don’t pat me on the back just yet. Item #1: empty cardboard boxes – about 100 of them. It cleared my garage and I wasn’t forced to stuff them in the recycling bin the next 13 weeks, so it helped me out.
When I unloaded the boxes I discovered the story of a woman who was moving out of state in conjunction with her parents. A new job would provide better income, but would also yield a loss of community. The woman’s mother has cancer. A cancer for which little can be done save multiple tumor removal surgeries. I met “mom” and asked about her potential for a support network. Her church here promises to stay in touch, but there was some anxiety about the big move. So I got to pray with her.
Feeling very generous (because we’re studying generosity at church this month), I chose to give away item #2: a couch. I guess I could have sold it for a few bucks, but it had been a gift so I felt a wee bit guilty following that route. Anyhoo, the first person to respond to the couch said he’d be by in the morning. I grumbled when he didn’t show up on time and thought I’d wasted 45 minutes. But he showed up, revealing that it had been a two hour drive to get to my house!
He must really need this couch. He proceeded to share that the couch was for he and his wife. They have five kids and they just gave most of their furniture for his mother who’s in a bad place (physically, not geographically). His truck was humble – maybe worth $300. He was missing a few teeth and was in physical pain from a work related injury.
I quickly sized up that he hadn’t been as wise as me in high school. Probably didn’t study as hard and he probably reaped what he sowed. Within milliseconds I was reminded of Pastor Sharon’s sermon yesterday. I don’t deserve what I have. It’s all a gift! Thank God for my parents. Thank God that I haven’t had any life-altering disabilities. In that moment I also remembered her challenge to be content. I do this every once in a while when I meet people worse off than me. The other 23 hours a day I complain about everything under the sun.
As you strive to be content and thankful, I urge you to look for the lonely, ignored, and hurting in your everyday life. As I’m learning, you may have to peel an extra layer to find the story, but it’s there! Be the ministers to those online, in coffee houses, and to your next door neighbors.