I found a dollar yesterday while I was walking to lunch. I couldn’t believe it—right there on the sidewalk and right in my path. And no one around that it could have belonged to (I looked). So, I picked it up and put it in a safe place and just thought how lucky that was. A whole dollar. Don’t get me wrong, I will stop to pick up a penny if I see one, so you can imagine my excitement at finding a crisp George Washington. I’m generally a simple gal….It really doesn’t take much.
Remember how Bob asked us one Sunday in the first of the “Consumption vs. Contentment” series if we had things in our homes (and lives) that belonged to someone else? I did clean out some closets and parted ways with a beloved kitchen appliance I never use shortly thereafter. Well, undoubtedly that dollar that crossed my path yesterday wasn’t really mine either. It belonged to someone else.
I had a faculty member walk into our suite this morning to drop some things off, and she’s very pregnant. While she was here, she suddenly felt faint and nauseous. Next thing I know she’s in repose on one of our love-seats trying to collect herself. I’m a “do-er” and I also know my limits with medical-related events (I don’t pass out, but I also don’t quite know what to do). So, I asked her if I could get her a drink from the machine in the next building over, thinking maybe a Sprite would settle her stomach, or water would help, and hoping the student worker could reasonably hold down the fort (and perhaps be aware enough to call 911 should the necessity arise). That dollar, clearly, belonged to her so that I could retrieve a cold bottle of water for her—our vending machine drinks cost exactly one dollar. Pretty soon she was sitting up and feeling more back to normal. After she left, I just sat in my office for a few minutes dumbstruck. God ambushes me almost every time (like most 21st century American women, I can get really wrapped up in my own little world and my own responsibilities to notice His working). While I was in “help” mode I wasn’t even thinking about finding that bill yesterday, but the realization of what happened sat me down after this sweet mom-to-be left our suite.
Sometimes I get caught up in thinking that I need to do big things for Jesus. I have thoughts about digging wells in Africa or rocking babies in orphanages in South America and, consequently, how those things just really aren’t on my radar right now as a single mom of two boys trying to keep it together “on the daily” at home. Then God steps in and gives me a dollar to buy a bottle of water for someone in need right here in my office. And based on what I read in the news or see in person when I’m away from the quiet of home, I am confident that we need more acts of love in our world today to tip the scale back in the other direction.
It doesn’t have to be big to be good. It doesn’t have to make the news to count. It doesn’t have to be far-flung and time-consuming and ridiculously sacrificial to matter and to impact. Sometimes little things add up to big things. One moment, one step, one small action at a time. He is good, and we can be good because He is. Sometimes it’s hard to find opportunities. I get that. I’d love to write a whopper of a check to Allied Churches to help folks in need be able to eat a solid, hearty meal and sleep somewhere safe regularly. But I can’t. I can, however, buy a few extra cans of beans or a box of oatmeal to donate. I can spend some of my time on a hot July Saturday out at Eastlawn Elementary handing out freeze pops to smiling faces. I can smile at people when I’m out and about. I can resist the urge to use my horn when I’m behind that slow driver, and I can be patient about getting to where I’m going. It doesn’t have to be big to show God’s love to other people.
So, I challenge you to think about what you have that belongs to someone else (every day even)? Maybe it’s something tangible like that dollar I found, or those clothes I donated, or the extra beans I picked up at the store. Or maybe it’s your July Saturday, or your patience in an impatient world, or just your smile showing someone else that you see them. Whatever it is, I hope you are able to identify it soon (maybe daily) and get it back to its rightful owner.
I pray that the Lord
Will bless and protect you,
And that he will show you mercy
May the Lord be good to you
And give you peace.
(Number 6: 24-26 CEV)