Many years ago, (in a galaxy far away…) I was at my Thanksgiving dinner table when the phone rang. It was a woman from church who wanted to tell me that no one ate very much of her beautifully prepared Thanksgiving dinner. She just knew there was someone in need who would appreciate this dinner. (Here comes the “interesting” part.) She also knew I was just the person to make that happen. How quickly could I get to her house, wrap up the dinner and get it to someone in need? I was and am grateful for everyone who has a heart to help others. But I wanted to say to this woman (and of course I didn’t)… it is just not that easy. You don’t get to sit home and toss your goodwill over the fence. Jesus will ask more…much more. I got that kind of phone call more than once, and combined with my own sense of enabling and the ever present “I’ll just do it myself” attitude, I spent many years schlepping someone’s idea of goodwill and grumbling just below the surface.
So last Sunday when Jeff Nelson mentioned Ashley in his sermon, I took a deep breath. I met Ashley at our sack lunch program for the homeless and have been helping her and her five children move into permanent housing. They moved into a house two days before Thanksgiving. She and her children were coming off the street so they had NO furniture. After the service, I was literally inundated with people who wanted to help. “I have a table.” “I have a bed” “I have a lamp.” I went into panic mode. How can I get a truck? Who can lift these items? Who will put them together? Seriously, I was hyper ventilating before I could make it down to fellowship hall. I stopped for a moment in quiet hallway and prayed….”Jesus show me what to do.” And Jesus answered “Why don’t you just sit back and watch me take care of this.”
The woman with the kitchen table stopped to tell me that her husband had already loaded it up in a trailer and they were ready to drive it straight to Ashley’s house. They would put everything together. I am sure I had this dazed (does not compute, does not compute) look of my face. She gently took my phone from my hand and found Ashley’s phone number and address. Ashley tells me it is the most beautiful table and it matches her kitchen perfectly.
And then today… another member from the church went to Ashley’s and totally set up a bed for one of the children. I mean “totally”…down to the sheets and the pillow cases and the comforter. On Sunday, I mentioned that mattresses are hard to come by (since they cannot be donated), and several people responded with cash donations; enough for me to buy Ashley a new mattress and have it delivered to her house. Please know, I appreciate that not every one has a truck and not every one can deliver or put things together. I just love it when we all work together.
It is so fun to see how you just take care of things; it is amazing to watch you at work in the world. Forgive me when I fail to trust you or those around me who are answering your call. Most of all thank you for placing me in the midst of folks who just get it done….in your name.
P.S. Official shout out to the folks at Royal Oak First United Methodist Church….