Friday, March 22, 2013

Little Things That Matter

There was this family that the Deacon's wife felt sorry for, she of the discerning eye and generous heart. Their broken fence reminded her of the old unheated farm house that she grew up in, and how everything always seemed to be in ill repair as her poor family struggled under a father who could never provide adequately for his many children. Mrs. Deacon remembered all too well what it was like to sleep on the floor in front of the stove on the coldest nights, huddled together with her siblings. It seemed like such a little thing at the time.

On days when Mrs. Deacon worked her job at a market stand, she would often bring leftover food that had gone unsold to the Grateful family, hoping to be a small blessing where so much must be needed. Mrs. Grateful would meet her at the door with her three preschoolers, and thank Mrs. Deacon for thinking of them. It's the little things, she thought with satisfaction. She remembered what it was like to be a busy young mother, and how there was never enough hands or hours in the day to get everything done.

 It came to be known in the church that there was a great need among the brotherhood. A man in the community had become suddenly ill, and required expensive medication. Their savings exhausted, and prognosis poor, a special collection would be taken to help see this man and his wife through the storm. The Deacon would be visiting each family who could make a contribution. That afternoon at dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Grateful discussed the need. Mr. Grateful said he would check their books and see what could be done for the ailing man. After all, they had been putting away a little here and there.

Two weeks later, Mr. Deacon sat at his desk having just counted out a substantial donation from his fellow church members. Mrs. Deacon was in the kitchen preparing supper, and saw her husband resting in the chair.

"Was there a good collection?" she inquired.
"Yes, very good. I think this will really help with the medication cost, and maybe pay a few doctor bills, too."

Mr. Deacon sat contemplating his next words, uncertain how much to share with his wife about such a private church matter. He decided to tell Mrs. Deacon the surprising news that over half of the money in the collection came from one family. The Grateful's. That was no little thing.

Three miles away, Mrs. Grateful was home cleaning out the refrigerator.

"We have so much food in here." Mrs. Grateful felt guilty about any waste, but consoled herself with the knowledge that at least they had plenty to eat, a warm house, and few worries. Sure, there were a few things that needed done about the place, but that wasn't as important right now as spending time with her children and helping others, like that poor neighborhood man with the many doctor bills. Mrs. Grateful thought for a moment that perhaps the next time Mrs. Deacon dropped by with some leftovers from the market, she could redirect them to the sick man and his wife. She could even add a couple loaves of her own bread. Every little bit helps.

 I watched these little acts of faith unfold at a place I'll call Anonymous Valley Mennonite Church, but little things can make a difference anywhere. A wise man once said, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."

10 comments:

  1. I am more encouraged with this reading and I am so glad to see you posting this... Beautiful testimony of the true purpose of "Church"

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  2. This sounds like my church! I have no idea how many people our Deacon's Fund helps, but there's always money in it and they never tell who or how much :-) I love my church family, but I love the Lord even more!

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  3. what a beautiful testimony and reminder of how, even the little we do or believe can add up!

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  4. Wow...I really became choked up reading this post. So beautiful, such unstifled charity. I pray for that kind of charity within me. Thank you, very much, for sharing.

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  5. I love this because I think life is all about the little things. God is in the details (I made that up - OK, no I didn't). I think people get discouraged when things seem overwhelming and yet so many people doing so many little things can make such a difference. World problems, too much, doing something for my neighbor who will "pay it forward", not too much. I have to be honest, when you first started the story about the broken fence and such, I thought someone mistook your home rehab project as a charity project. But then I realized with dogs you really can't have a broken fence. :) I love this post.

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    1. You really got what this story is about, imPerfect Housewife! It IS about doing little things that can make a difference for someone every day. It doesn't need to be in or through a church, it can happen anywhere. And no, we are not either family in this story, although the people and events are real.

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  6. So true....I have been on the giving and receiving ends of such stories. The giving is so much easier than the receiving,but both a huge blessing. I am very thankful for willing compassionate hearts.....blessings

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  7. Monica, thanks for sharing this story. So beautiful! I'm amazed at how so often the "poor" are the most generous. That's challenging to me. I don't often like to give when it's really going to hurt.

    Also, so glad you commented on my blog again. I've been wanting to find your blog again and that made it super easy. I'm adding it to my blog reader now so that I can "keep up with you". :)

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  8. Great comments from your blogging friends! So often, it's hard to be on the receiving end of such giving ... even hard to let the deacons know you are suffering, but how can others be a blessing if we don't let them give? On the giving side, it always pays to have a listening heart and a quiet tongue. Giving is so important, especially of our time and talents.

    Make sure you re-post this sometime next year, oh, say... Thanksgiving/Christmas time. It's that true and good!

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