I chuckled as I washed the dishes, my eyes looking at the sudsy plate in my hand. It was my youngest daughter’s week, but she had fallen asleep after school so I figured I’d help her out. So while I washed, I wandered. The plate reminded me of one of the senior youth group leaders during my pre-teen years. He was one of my mom’s favorites – a diamond in the rough type. He was full of great stories from his childhood in the northwest, and one, in particular, stood out from the rest. For the sake of this post, we’ll call him “Ronny” and his brother “Ben.” I can’t remember how many other siblings there were, but his dad was a pastor.
One evening over dinner, “Ronny” told us about this lady who always seemed to pop up around dinner time. At first, it was fine, she was invited in and ate with the family. However, she began coming multiple times a week and always right when dinner was about to be served. Had she been in need, “Ronny’s” family would have gone right on feeding her; but, she wasn’t. Worse still, as soon as she saw the family finishing up, she always made some excuse to leave in a hurry. This began to grate on the family, but not wanting to offend their uninvited guest, it continued on until “Ronny’s” father made a move. Sure as day, the woman peeked-in right around dinner time and ate with the family. She stayed a tad longer than usual chatting at the table, and before she had the chance to make her escape, “Ronny’s” father casually held his empty plate for the dog to lick clean, got up and placed it under the washed dishes in the cabinet, and returned to the conversation. Despite the horrified look on the woman’s face, the rest of the family continued chatting as if nothing had happened. Soon, the lady excused herself and never visited again at dinner.
I remembered the tears running down our faces as we laughed at the story, and I smiled as the suds squeezed through the sponge and onto the next plate. I stopped mid-wash, Huh, I thought, the only way that could have worked is if she never stayed to help wash up. Why wouldn’t you give what you had to offer? You don’t always have to give money, sometimes, what people have is their time, a listening ear, advice, or my mom’s gift – The Gift Of Helps. She could see what needed to be done and would just do it.
I feel like Ulysses in Dublin trying to explain my stream of consciousness!
But, I’ve been thinking a lot about what God blesses each of us with. I have thought about the ways people have helped me over the last two years with rides to my doctors’ appointments, company as I walk, advice, help cleaning, groceries, dinners, or help filling out paperwork. It’s made me think about what I have left to offer. I may not be able to do the same things others can, but not everything can be quantified with a price tag. I can pray for you. I can listen to you when you’re down. I can help you work through a problem. I can rub my kids’ bellies or sing them to sleep. I can make you laugh, and I can share my experiences with you in the hope that you will not feel alone in this world.
Everything we have is given by God, let’s use it.
Luke 21: 1-4 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”