The front lawn (what little there is) seems to be a perfect spot for passers-by to toss their empty pop cans and discard whatever random pieces of garbage they might be carrying. Almost every day I’m out there picking up trash. Yesterday, a random neighboring hood dweller praised me for my efforts and commented that I ought to be “hired” seeing as I’m the only one out there every day trying to keep things tidy.
Anyhow, the amount of waste is only a small indication of the amount of traffic our sidewalk endures. God willing, our haven is perfectly located for outreach.
A few weeks ago we experienced a rare day of warmth bathed in glorious rays of sunshine (such a day I’ve been longing for ever since), and we thought it absolutely perfect for a BBQ. We invited Young Life leaders and youth over and set the grill up out front; hot dogs for everyone.
The warm weather brought the neighborhood to life. Old and young came out, gracing the streets with their presence. Needless to say, the amount of foot traffic increased significantly.
We offered hot dogs to our neighbors, and while some politely declined, many were happy to receive a free meal. We met many new faces that day. I was especially stoked about the youth who stopped by to find out what was going on. One young fellow in particular was rather interested in the other teens who were hanging out. He wanted to know if there was anyone inside that he knew and asked if he could go in. “Sure” I answered hesitantly.
Moments later he scurried down the porch calling out to his friends “They got a Wii and a flat screen in there!”
Almost as immediate as my stomach sunk, my heart filled with prayers; asking God to keep our haven safe from theft and mischief.
I learned some important lessons that day. And not just about setting boundaries and taking careful precautions (although those are quite significant), but about turning it all over to Him. Not just my fears, emotions and desires, but my “stuff” too. In fact, it’s all His anyway. I am thankful for the blessings we have been given, and He encouraged my heart that day to use what we have been blessed with for His glory and to bless others. After prayer and consideration (him) and I determined that we don’t actually own anything we couldn’t live without. Some things are nice, and many things provide a lot of convenience, but nothing isn’t replaceable.
We were listening to an Odyssey CD in the van the other day and the characters were mulling over the following question…
If the house were burning, and everyone was safe, and you could grab one (and only one) thing, what would it be?
(Him) and I had trouble of thinking of anything. Nothing seemed important enough. I finally decided on my computer because much of my writing, business files and family photos are stored on it. Even so, while the plethora of smiling faces saved as jpg’s would be dearly missed, I think I’d be OK. And, I know that many photographs and memories could be recovered, recaptured and redocumented.
All to say, it’s just stuff, and we are trying to live out a willingness to follow God’s lead in building relationships; even at the risk of loosing our stuff.