About seven or eight weeks ago, before we left on our long trip, one of my husband’s customers went to an Amish auction and stopped by our house to share his haul with us. We tend to develop friendships with many of my husband’s customers. No reason you cannot be friends with the people at work.
Only my son was home at the time. He looked at the food – lettuce, eggs, squash, zucchini – and thought of a family in our neighborhood. He knew they had many struggles, so he kept what we could use, not what we could save to use in the future, but what we actually needed. He brought the rest to his classmate.
I had no idea, didn’t find out until after the fact. No one prompted him, except maybe God. This was not a forced “good deed” or a family project. It was him, a twelve-year old boy, seeing a need and doing what he could to fill the need.
I was so proud of him, and I was thankful.
We make a lot of mistakes as parents. We yell at the kids when we should be patient. We drag them all over creation with us and just expect that they’ll be good. We don’t always give them the attention they may need. We can’t give them half of what they want. We fail because we’re human, sometimes selfish, and too often worn out; however, if we can do anything right in this mixed-up world, we want to teach our kids to love people, to give of themselves, and to be like Jesus.
That day, I felt like we succeeded. Just for one moment, I thought all our wrong could be made right. I rejoiced that our son got it. He understood the most important thing in life is to love God and then love other people.
It is so simple and yet it gets lost in the commotion of everyday.
I never intended to share that story. To “pay it forward” is a trend, a good one, but not one I publicly participate in. Understand, I think it is wonderful. I applaud those who participate. It is just that for our family, we have tried very hard to live a life that is sensitive to other people and their needs. It is not something I can just write about any time I want to share. It is really their story to tell, not my own.
We have attempted to teach our children the biblical principle that if we know someone has a need and we have the ability to meet that need, then we should.
Sometimes we have needs of our own.
I hate that. It is one hundred percent my pride that hates it. I want to be the giver, not the receiver. Sometimes I think that is why God allows us to need, so we will know.
My washing machine burned up on Saturday. Thankfully we were home and caught it before it started a fire.
Someone saw my need and sent me the money to buy a new washing machine. My first thought was I don’t deserve this. It is too big a gift. I cannot accept it.
But I know this is how God chooses to work. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but He wants us to have the blessing of giving, of doing His work, of loving like He does. He gives us the privilege of being used by Him.
It is all part of God’s plan. It is the way the world should go round – us loving our neighbor as ourselves.
I am blessed beyond measure. I know the joy of giving, the feeling of need, and the grace of being given so much more than I deserve.
With each load of laundry, I will remember the gift of receiving and I will be reminded that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. I do a lot of laundry. It is not a lesson I will soon forget. You can count on me paying it forward. There is no shortage of need in this world. All I have to do is look around, but today I am praising God for this gift – a new washing machine.
What about you?