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When we have guests or are at a dinner somewhere, we want our children to be polite, so we tell them, “Don’t go back for seconds until everyone else has had some.” This is pretty standard etiquette, but this is also a simple way to show love to others. I imagine most of your families have a similar rule.
But sadly, this rule tends to stop at the buffet line and not follow us out into our lives.
But what if we applied this rule to our lives? How many pairs of shoes do you have? Before getting your second pair of shoes, did you ever think to buy a pair for those who don’t have shoes? TOMS Shoes is a great example of a company that has taken this to heart. For every pair they sell, they donate a pair to someone in a developing country to prevent soil-transmitted diseases.
What about food? What if, for every can of food each of us bought, we donated a can to Community Care or another local food pantry? Think about clothes, toilet paper, and more. Last year, we had a sock drive when we found out the Lorain Haven Center for the homeless needed socks. But what if, instead of having “drives,” we just made a habit of picking up a few extra cans or boxes of food every time we went shopping? Or when getting that new pair of shoes, grabbing a pair of nice shoes off the Clearance rack for someone in need? Or when you need socks, buy an extra bag for someone who doesn’t have “firsts.”
For most of us, a few extra cans in the cart won’t make a noticeable dent in our checking account. (If it does, let us know, and we’ll help you out with some of it!) But when I was at seminary and had access to an on-campus food pantry and resale shop, most of you can’t imagine how much we appreciated that. Others are in worse situations than we are.
Loving your neighbor isn’t just about giving your 10%. Jesus gave us His all. Loving your neighbor as yourself means going beyond the “drives” and letting your life be driven by the One Who was driven to the cross to save you.
But enough talk. Talking won’t help anyone. If you’re interested in helping with this drop me a note or leave a comment. We just need a container to collect items (or maybe two, one for groceries and one for clothes, etc.) and someone willing to deliver the items to Community Care or wherever they’re needed. Everyone else, think about what “seconds” you have in your life, and ask whether you are able to to help provide “firsts” to someone in need.