Monday, November 12, 2007

a shoe box of promise

"Lord, when did we ever see you hungry, and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?"... "I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!" Matthew 25:37-40

When I read those words the other morning, God kindled a flame of passion in my spirit, gave me a burning desire to feed and clothe Jesus by doing it for someone in need. But who? Where? When? I've been praying, and keeping my eyes wide open.

Yesterday my best friend described taking her daughter shopping for gifts to fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child, a project that sends shoe boxes of gifts to children who may never have received a gift before. The gifts are given and the truth about Christ's priceless gift to all of us is explained to them.

I'd love to help someone face to face, but this was a start. I explained to Green Bean that we were going shopping today, and that I'd like his help picking out toys for a little boy who doesn't have any. Green Bean liked that idea. His imagination was captured by the thought of a little boy who didn't have any toys in his closet. Shopping for the toys was fun, although Green Bean's choices were not exactly thoughtful or reasonable. "Would he like a bike, Mommy?" "No, sweetheart, we can't get him a bike. Remember, the gifts have to fit inside a shoebox." But when I gave him a choice between a plush puppy and a plush moose, he helped decide on the puppy. Which Peanut Butter then hugged and snuggled for a while in the cart, making the same noises he makes when he's mauling, I mean, snuggling our new kitty, Tuttles.

I wanted to fill the box full of as many truly fun, age appropriate toys as I could without going to a million stores and spending a lot of money. In the end I was proud of the selection we managed to fit in the box, and I kind of feel like an expert on what types of toys a 2-4 year old boy would like to find waiting inside.
Green Bean asked several times this evening if the boy was coming over. We explained to him as well as we could that the boy lives far away and the box will have to travel for a long time to reach him. We showed him the video from Operation Christmas Child's website, and he watched it twice. I think it gave him an idea of what it was about.

It feels like a gift to God Himself. It's certainly not the first time I've ever done anything "for God" or given anything to someone in need. It's just that this time, it all began from a pulsing desire to do something to show God that He's everything to me. That I understand that the gift He gave us of Himself on the cross is worth my everything...any sacrifice. And I feel like my life is terribly self-absorbed and self-serving. And I want to change. He calls me to change. To fail to do so, to fail to reach out and offer food to the hungry and comfort to the sick and lonely, is to call into question whether I've even heard His call at all.

This is a small step of faith. Because our Christmas gift money is carefully budgeted. Because all of our money is fully accounted for. I feel like we have so much, but it all has places to go already. I resist unplanned for giving because it doesn't fit, it isn't planned. But this time, I'll sacrifice something I wanted, or we'll scrape it from somewhere, because my priorities aren't in line with God's just yet, and they need to change.

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