Saturday, November 17, 2012
Or maybe it's a dress, a shirt, a pair of pants you've hung onto for a decade or more in hopes (or dread) that it might fit again.
What if I told you these weren't just pieces of fabric that others might classify as old, out-of-fashion, hand-me-down, worthless. What if, instead, you looked at them with labels such as blessing, gift, ministry?
Even more importantly, what if you truly believed that even hand-me-down clothes could have a God-ordained purpose?
In my heart, I do believe just that. Everything has a purpose. All things work together to the glory of God, towards His eternal plan.
The problem is sometimes I am guilty of unconsciously believing that what I consider insignificant and not really useful, God does, too. Without really thinking about it, I place everything I see, own, or do on a mental chart, each piece ordered in a hierarchy of importance.
The old coat? Box of my daughter's sparkly rocks from the driveway? Stack of children's watercolors from the month? These all get categorized as Unimportant.
My shelf of completed Bible studies? Photo albums? I-phone? Important.
Receipts for the IRS? Birth certificates? Wedding ring? Teaching files? Very important.
Perhaps you're like me and those things, actions, ideas considered to be insignificant or unimportant, we simply overlook.
Yet, what God has been teaching me over the past year is that it's the small, insignificant pieces of life that can hold the most value.
The way to bless others doesn't have to be big, flashy, or front-page news.
To bless others and to be blessed on a daily basis requires us to seek out the small, the seemingly insignificant parts of life, to follow that still, small voice, and to inject Christ's love whenever and wherever.
To bless and be blessed might come from something as insignificant as taking the time to help an old man find a two liter bottle of root beer in Wal-mart. Or of lingering on the phone an extra five minutes with a friend who just needs to talk.
Or, it might come in the form of an old coat.
This past Thursday night, I experienced such a blessing from being able to pass along a few coats to a group of new refugees in my ESL class. The week before, I had asked my church family for help. Two men offered their gently used coats, and I added them to the few I had found at the thrift store.
I expected to be a blessing to my new guys.
What I didn't expect was to learn that the middle aged refugee I had been teaching all year long, the one whose job is to wash up to five hundred cars a day---he was the one who really needed a coat with a hood to keep him warm this winter. Unbeknownst to me, he had already made his request to the church's pastor a few weeks before.
Although he also was unaware of the specific need, my brother in Christ had given just such a coat--with a hood, the perfect size for this man.
There are no words to communicate how proud my student was of his new coat. This usually quiet man kept coming to me and giving me thanks when all I had done was deliver the blessing. I was so very blessed in seeing God at work through something small.
It was humbling and heart warming at the same time, the thought that an idea that we thought began in our own heads began in the mind of God who then warmed our hearts to give.
I know what it is to bless and to be blessed...it is a chance to see the fingerprints of God in daily life.
Since the birth of my twins, I have been blessed a thousand fold by others' passing along their children's clothes and toys. I have learned to prefer shopping at America's Thrift over the mall, to be grateful for a closet full of my fashion-savvy mother-in-law's hand-me-downs. And I have learned how to both receive these blessings and to pass them along to others.
It's what I've come to call a "double blessing," being blessed by the gift and then being blessed by the giving of it again.
It makes me wonder what other blessings we have received are just waiting in the wings to be passed along to another, to bless again.
at 7:55 PM