Nothing feels better than cleaning out your house, right? It makes you realize how much you have (and don’t need), instead of pining over what you want. This world is all about want, but God is all about give. We recently cleaned out the basement and shed and wondered what to do with all the toddler toys. We had tricycles, little chairs, a four-wheeler, and a lawn mower among the goods. Sure, we considered selling to the highest bidder, but then I remembered that many of these items were either given used, given as gifts, or side-of-the-road take-aways. I think we bought two chairs. This was a pay-it-forward moment.
One post with a picture on Facebook and the items were quickly claimed, going to good homes with happy toddlers and grateful parents. That felt as good as clearing space; actually, it felt even better! God wants us to take care of each other, be each other’s keepers. Matthew 25:40 tells us that what we do to the least, we do to Christ. If we are to honor Him as our King, then we need to honor His children, even the least of them, as He wants us to. I used to think that ‘least’ just meant the poor, but I’ve come to realize that ‘least’ actually means the unwanted, unlikely, or unlikeable. Yes, often, this is the poor, but sometimes it’s the neighbor kid no one likes, or the coworker you can’t stand, or the stranger you really don’t want to talk to.
Avoiding some of these people is so natural to some of us (me included!) that it’s as easy as groaning about getting up Monday morning. No one likes starting their work-week (whenever your week starts), and there’s plenty of memes to prove it! What if serving the least of these gave such a positive feeling that we were more accustomed to that then we were to the urgh of the start of our week?
I’m not just talking about feeling good because you’re charitable with giving things away, but with yourself. Give yourself to someone who needs an ear, a shoulder, or even a simple conversation. This feel-good feeling isn’t just about saying, “Hey, check me out! I’m so kind and loving!” Let’s face it: that’s just arrogant. It’s about finding ways to serve God by serving others. We need to meet them where they are just as Christ met us here on Earth, down in the dirt, in a manger, born to a Virgin. This means humility.
And if you’re purging items, ask yourself a few questions: Is this something I would use again? Am I getting rid of it because it’s broken, dirty, ragged? Does it look terribly used? Hard plastic toys have more leeway than clothes of course, but it’s not very charitable to give away something tattered. If you are looking for a good charity, I’m a huge fan of Operation Christmas Child, where you fill a small shoebox with (new) items for a child in a poverty stricken country. Watch those videos – they’re amazing!
I look back on my life with my husband and we are amazed at how people have provided for us. From household items and baby clothes and toys, to babysitting and moving help, to love and support, we have been blessed in big ways. It’s only right to give it back a thousand times over. In John 15:12, Jesus tells us to love each other as He has loved us. It’s a big task, but He’s here to help us grow in this task, as He wants us to grow in big ways. He gave us everything, His very life so we could have Heaven. Let’s give Him ourselves by serving one another.