I've written frequently lately about the homeless couple living in an undisclosed location in Cincinnati that our small group has adopted to be Christ to and love.
Last week, Teresa hadn't felt well enough to "fly her sign" the day I stopped in after work to check on them. She was feeling a little better, and after confessing how low they were on food stamps, I suggested she come to my house and I'd pay her to help me clean out my garage a bit. We had a flood a few years back and had to box up a lot of stuff and just hadn't gone through it to see what needed to be done. She took me up on the offer.
As I was driving up Elberon, it suddenly hit me in the gut. I was bringing home a lady who lived in a tent and all her worldly possessions fit into two cardboard boxes. My garage was simply the stuff my house had regurgitated because there was no where inside that it belonged. And my garage is full of stuff. Her stuff is two cardboard boxes.
The further I got up the hill, the more embarrassed I became. I had all these thoughts racing through my head. How do I explain the accumulation of stuff I have? How do I explain we have so many electronics that there's a 5 disk CD changer just laying on the floor in the garage? How do I explain boxes that I don't even remember what's in them? Then I started thinking about the attic above the garage. There's stuff up there I haven't seen since we moved in 13 years ago! What is she going to think of me?
Then of course I'm thinking, I have to let her into the house. There's more stuff in there! Years of accumulated stuff. Some stuff is sentimental, but for the most part, it's just useless stuff. And all her belongings fit in two cardboard boxes.
Sure, a CD changer isn't going to change Teresa's life because she doesn't even have electricity.
But what if I really did sell all, or most and give to the poor, as Jesus told the rich young ruler to do?
What do I care about more, my stuff, or my friends who have nothing? It can't be about the stuff.
You've all heard the question, if your house was burning, what 5 things would you rescue if you only had time to rescue five things?
Well, if your friends are hurting because they don't have enough to make it to the end of the month, what are you willing to give up in order to save THEM?
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