Posted by: minnow | June 27, 2008


I once heard about a woman who used to take her young children on a walk early in the morning on garbage day through her wealthy neighborhood. They would pull a wagon and in it they would put the discarded toys they found alongside the road. Sometimes the toys were actually broken and she would need to replace a part but most of the time they just needed to be cleaned up a bit. She and her children would fix and clean the toys and then take them to shelters or safe houses or such so children who did not have things to play with would have.

I love this story on so many levels. Their actions were obviously a blessing to the children who got new things to play with. She was teaching her own children to care about others, to be creative, to enjoy giving, and that things do not have to cost a lot to be fun or valuable. She was also practicing good stewardship of the earth by saving the landfills and recycling.

Not long ago my local newspaper featured a man and his backyard full of bird houses.  He and his grandchildren started the project a couple years ago to raise a little money for the fair.  The Grandfather saw it as a way to connect with his grandchildren and get rid of some of the old junk laying around his place.  The grandchildren thought of it as a chance to earn a little money and be creative.

The birdhouses are beautiful as well as practical.  Their creators have paid attention to what colors the birds seem to like, how big the enterance holes need to be to attract specific kinds of birds, and whether or not the bird they want to attract likes a perch outside the enterance or not.  It is actually a rather complicated science.  But, in the end the gift to nature and the closer family ties make it all worth it.

Recently the youth from our fellowship had a church wide rummage sale to raise some money for other projects and activities. A lot of the clothing was left over. Instead of taking it all to a discount used clothing store they decided to leave it at the church. Now the food bank also has clothes to give away.  The only trouble is the lack of hands to sort through and set out the clothes each week.  So I asked the director of our food bank if my two year old and I could come in and do it.  The job is now ours.

Pete Wilson over at Without Wax wrote a pretty challenging post yesterday (6/26).  The video and story he shared obviously impacted him and seemed to impact several of his commenters.  At the same time, when faced with such extreme need, seemingly so far away, we can often feel numb and helpless.  Our lives are busy, complicated, obligated.  Most of us cannot simply pull up stakes, move half way around the world, and start ministering to the poor, hungry, uneducated, sick, and hopeless no matter how big the need.  We want to make a difference.  But how?

What can I do?  If you have ever asked yourself this question and the ideas from above do not do it for you, check out Inspired to Action.  They are on day 5 of a forty day fast during which various bloggers each take one day to fast and blog about an organization whose focus is to improve the condition of “the least of these”.  On day 40 they have asked all the bloggers and those of us  following the posts to join a group fast.  I have already learned about three or four organizations I had never heard of before.  Sure, most of these places need actual feet and hands to be Jesus to those in need.  Still–Prayer.  Fasting.  Giving.  Those seem like good places to start especially when life feels full enough already.  Who knows, maybe God will see a way to free up some time in your calendar if you begin with prayer.



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