By Debra Torres The little girl in the lavender dress caught my eye in church last Sunday.
She was nestled in the strong arms of one of our church members during worship, and I watched her until the lavender she wore stirred up a memory.
I knew that dress!
My mind flashed back to the days when my own little girl wore the dress. Her aunt had given it to us years ago.
After my daughter had outgrown it, it hung in our closet for way too long. Not until recently had I found it and happily passed it on to the girl’s family.
As the girl kept herself busy with her juice cup, I found myself thinking that the dress looked way better on her than it did hanging in our closet.
It felt good to pass along the dress, and I had a warm feeling inside knowing that it was put to good use.
Before going to church that morning, I went to find my old navy pea coat.
My son had told me that pea coats were back in style, and this one, well, had been sort of a shopping victory for me over 20 years ago.
I had shopped knowing just what kind of coat I wanted and dug through what seemed like 100 coats at the store one day before finding it. The coat was just the right price, and everything about it, down to its neat row of little brass buttons had been perfect. I loved that coat!
But, life goes on, and after a few good years of wear, I put the coat into storage not having the heart to give it away. It was sort of a “hanging trophy” for me I guess.
Finding it for church the other day, I pulled it out excitedly. But you know, the style was way different that what’s “in” today, and the buttons were tarnished. Nah, I told myself, hanging it back up – this would never do.
Why had I hung on to the coat for so long – when someone else could have been kept warm by it?
At church, a speaker challenged us by asking: “Where are you putting your stuff?”
She went on to talk about the abundance of storage units we have in the U.S. (The U.S. alone has nearly 50,000 storage facilities) and pointedly said, “Never does a hearse stop at a storage unit and then go on to the cemetery.”
She encouraged us to invest in eternal things like helping to get Bibles translated into new languages so that people everywhere in the world could read the Good News.
I remember a man from church once telling us that in Africa, there was a need for bicycles. He said that the pastors there had no means of transportation and that the villages there were not hearing about Jesus because of it.
Pleading, he asked us to consider giving $50 to buy a bicycle for an African pastor.
One day, I received a $100 check in the mail from one of my relatives for what must have been my birthday. I remember thinking of all the fun “me” things I could do with that check. But, you know, those African pastors just stuck in my head. Any of the fun birthday things that I wanted to buy didn’t compare to the need of getting the gospel to an African village.
In church that Sunday, we sat next to the man who had shared the news. Smiling, I passed the money on to him, knowing my choice was a good one. Holding up two fingers, I excitedly said, “Enough for two bicycles!”
Now, I’m not saying I’m the best at giving and not hoarding. Because, well, that just wouldn’t be true. I’m probably close to one of the worst. I tend to like “my stuff.” I guess that’s why our speaker’s message hit home with me.
And maybe, today, it will touch your heart as well.
Good thing God’s never stops working on us, because without Him, well, where would we be?
Here are some Bible verses that'll help you on your journey: Matthew 6:19-20 New Living Translation
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.
1 Timothy 6:17-19New Living Translation
Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
Luke 6:38 New International Version
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”