Crazy Love

I have written earlier about how we can still give even in tight times.  As I had written, I began cleaning out my house, and was amazed at how many bags of goods I was able to donate to the Salvation Army.  In fact, I’m not even finished going through the house.  We were able to give away a lot of really good shoes, either because they were uncomfortable or they didn’t fit quite right.  They may fit just fine on someone else’s foot.  Anyway, I was feeling all self-congratulatory last night as I filled another bag from another closet to give to the Salvation Army next week.

I had a funny thought as I dressed for church this morning.  I wanted to wear my favorite shoes because they look and feel so good, but I was afraid of rain, and of rain ruining them.  Just then I heard the weather report on the radio and it said “rain after midnight”.  I figured it was safe to wear my favorite shoes because the rain wouldn’t hurt them.

The sermon this morning was on “crazy love”.  The pastor talked about loving and “really loving”.  He talked about people who gave till it hurt, about people who moved to poor neighborhoods so they could better help the poor by being personally involved in their lives.  I was already squirming when he said he was going to throw out a challenge.  If we wanted, and if we felt comfortable doing it, we could come up to the altar and leave our shoes.  Our shoes would be donated to the organization Samaritan’s Purse to be used by people who were looking for work and didn’t have appropriate shoes.  My first thought was “these are my favorite shoes.”  And immediately I realized  that all I had already given was so much less valuable as a love gift, because I am giving away things I no longer need or want.  Now I was being asked to give away something I still wanted.  I walked forward and put the shoes on the altar.  It felt fine walking back to my seat on the church’s indoor-outdoor carpet, but as we walked out to our car–guess what?  It was raining!  By the time we got to the car, my thin socks were very wet, my feet were very cold, and in fact, my legs ached clear up to the knees.  I thought God must want me to understand what it feels like not to have shoes and not to take them for granted anymore.   Then I realized the irony.  The rain.  If it had been raining or even if the rain was predicted, I wouldn’t have worn my favorite shoes.  But then, I wouldn’t have had the feeling, now quite freeing and satisfying, that I could indeed give away something I still wanted and feel good about it.  Thank you God, I said silently toward the sky.

Of course, I feel this is just a start.  I have no idea what the pastor will ask next Sunday, and no, I have no intention of changing churches.  Heavenly father, change my heart instead.

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