It was just supposed to be your ordinary, run-of-the-mill errand day–a trip to Target and then to Costco. My lists were made and I was on a mission to get in, get out, and get home.
My Target list was simple: purchase our remaining items for Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse It’s something we look forward to at Christmas and the concept is simple: stuff as many shoeboxes as you want with items for a child in an impoverished country and add a few dollars for postage. Samaritan’s Purse does the rest–they locate the children in villages all around the world, ship the boxes, & distribute them for Christmas. I walked through the aisles, filling my shopping cart with all the things my kids had requested we fill our boxes with this year. I looked over at the things in my cart–musical instruments, stuffed animals, jump ropes, pencils, toothbrushes-and right there, in the middle of the soap aisle, my heart burst open and tears began streaming down my cheeks. Thoughts were racing through my brain: How can this be enough? This isn’t fair! Why do my kids get all the things their hearts’ desire while these innocent children get toothpaste? What makes my kids so special? Why were they born into such excess and these children born into such scarcity? How can a stuffed animal bring any comfort to a child who goes to bed with an empty stomach? I was completely undone.
I finally pulled myself together, paid for my purchases, and made my way to Costco. I did my shopping quickly and as I struggled to push my overflowing cart to my van, tears began streaming down my cheeks as the very same questions bombarded my brain.
(In case you haven’t noticed I am prone to big, dramatic feelings.)
Needless to say, this week my mostly-mascaraless eyes have spent a good deal of time looking up to Jesus and searching the heavens for answers. Until today.
Today I met a couple with 3 young children that we were able to bless in a really amazing way. And as this complete stranger and I embraced each other and wiped our tears (shocker: I cried.) she whispered that they would now be able to turn around and bless someone else.
And with her words, every question I dared to ask this week was answered.
In that moment the “whys” melted away because I finally knew why: God isn’t done with us yet. We live in world where there are orphans, widows, refugees, poverty, injustice, disease, and death. But He has a whole body of believers who are bursting with love because they have been adopted by Love Himself. They give because He gave: For God so loved the world that He gave…(John 3:16). They answer the call to love the unlovable, bring hope to the hopeless, and speak life to those who are dying inside. There are people to love, and needs to meet, and the eternal souls of people are the very thing at stake. And it is our privilege to minister to them until He returns.
We are a deeply flawed and really messy bunch; this Body of His. We don’t all answer this call, when we do we don’t always do it well. But today made me realize that when we commit to doing even the little things faithfully, we have the privilege of doing them for each other AND for Him. And despite the messes we sometimes make along the way, this is Very. Important. Work.
The reason I get to pack shoeboxes, feed my children, and bless a family is because He isn’t finished with His Church. We aren’t done serving, loving, and giving. And while packing a shoebox and giving away a few possessions may not seem like enough to me, He can take those small offerings and make them big enough to touch a soul.