I am so thankful for the wonderful people in my small group for helping collect household and hygiene items for Needline today. Without their help, I wouldn’t have collected nearly as many items and wouldn’t have been able to make as much of an impact, and for that, I’m truly grateful. Also, I’d like to thank all the people in Murray today that took the extra time to buy an extra product or two to donate. Families in need at this time of the year always have to chose between buying these types of products and providing gifts for their families and food for their tables. Allowing Needline to take care of some of these items will ensure that those families have a little extra cash during the holiday season.
I don’t want to turn negative, but we did meet a lady today that said something that got my attention. Hear me now, I do not intend to condemn her for what she said, I want to turn it into a learning experience.
As she walked by us, we asked her to consider purchasing an extra item to donate to Needline. She said,
“Well, my church already gives to the poor…so I don’t feel obligated.”
We were a little taken aback, most likely because everyone else had received our requests so warmly to that point. We simply weren’t ready for that. My first reaction, after a little shock, was some anger. ”What gives her the right,” I thought. But after thinking about it a little more, I quickly realized I was in no position to harbor angst against her. How many times in my life have I passed by people asking for money or avoided calls from charities? I certainly haven’t sponsored a child in a third-world country or given much time to feed the homeless in America’s cities. Let’s face it, I just don’t feel obligated either…at least she was willing to admit it.
I think this lack of obligation is due to a still elementary understanding of the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ death. In my life thus far, I’ve gotten pretty much all that I wanted and have developed a pretty robust sense of entitlement. So, when I think about God’s love, it makes a lot of sense. He created me, made me awesome and now owes me salvation. All kidding aside, I find it very hard to understand that Jesus was not obligated to die for me. In the ultimate act of benevolence, He who knew no sin became sin so that I might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21). He left heaven and became poor so that by his poverty, we would be made rich, giving us eternal life (2 Corinthians 8:9). I surely don’t deserve it. I’ve done nothing to merit it, and even if I tried, I could never repay the debt I’ve created against an infinite God. Today, I’m thankful for that gift.
Now, I’m thankful for what the lady said today. I’ve known the underlying sense of apathy was there, but until I heard it out loud, I didn’t know just how ugly it was. I hope that I’m able to reflect what God did for me on the cross by loving the unlovable, giving to those in need and serving “the least of these” with a joyous heart. Jesus wasn’t obligated to serve us, yet He did – let me be forever thankful for that.