October 24, 2008

The Homeless Don't Want Your Leisure Suit!

I was a youth pastor in Kansas City for about 4 years. Each Christmas season we had a clothing drive for a homeless shelter in our area. They needed coats, sock, and clothing. Whenever you ask for clothing from someone's closet you get some of the worst stuff imaginable.

After several years of this sort of thing our pastor had had enough. One Sunday he said, "As you sort through the stuff in your closet you need to bring your very best. The homeless people don't want your leisure suit any more than you do!"

2 Samuel 24:18-25 offers some insight into this...David, seeking to make an offering to the Lord, asked Araunah for some land and materials to build an altar. Araunah told David, "O King, take whatever you want." But David wouldn't just take it. David responded, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing."

Later, Jesus watched the people placing their offering into the Temple collection. As He watched, a little old lady came up and put in a couple of small coins. Jesus called His disciples around and said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

God doesn't just want something...He wants our very best. It isn't that we have to give an expensive gift, but we are expected to give the very best we possibly can.

This means giving food we would actually eat (not the canned spinach from the back of our pantry or the outdated cans)...it means giving clothes that we would actually wear (If you are thinking, "I would wear a leisure suit!" you have other issues to work through). This might mean that rather than clean out our closet we go to the grocery store or department store and pick out new stuff for our donation. Maybe not, but it is a thought.

I once read about a Butterball Turkey customer service worker who received a phone call from a lady asking if the 20 year old turkey in her deep freezer was edible. He reassured her that the turkey, as long as it had remained frozen the entire time, was edible, but would not taste very good. She responded, "That's what I thought. I will go ahead and give this to my church for the poor."

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