When we had our other house, the house where the kids grew up and where we lived for over 30 years, I grew African violets.
This house had a south window, and my violets thrived there.
In our current house, I have no south window. I have no north window, for that matter. I have tried to grow violets everywhere in this house, but they will not thrive.
So, I resorted to having a philodendron plant, the one plant no one can kill. It grows despite placement in a disagreeable location and even neglect by its owner.
And I do neglect my philodendron.
We had to move it when we put up the Christmas tree.
A poor, pitiful thing it was.
Dead, brown leaves; crooked, misshapen vines; and a rootbound under-life, I’m sure.
When we moved the plant, pangs of guilt attacked me, for it was as dry as a rock bed.
So I watered it.
I went to the kitchen and counted the steps needed to carry water from the sink to the plant stand.
I let weeks go by, months maybe, between waterings of that plant, and why?
It wasn’t because I didn’t have the water it needed. It wasn’t because I was unable to walk the 18 steps from the kitchen to the plant stand.
It was because of apathy. I didn’t care enough about that plant to ensure its survival.
My attitude and actions said to the plant, “Go ahead. Die.”
I wonder how many other things/people/situations exist toward which I feel apathy.
I have what they need, but I withhold it from them.
Do you remember when God met with Moses at the burning bush?
After Moses was well into his discourse against doing the thing God commissioned him to do, God asked Moses a question.
“What is that in your hand?” (Genesis 4:2)
You know it was a staff. Moses threw it on the ground, and, in a frightening display of power, God turned the staff into a snake.
The story of Jesus feeding 5000+ people with a boy’s lunch of five small loaves of bread and two little fish is recorded in all four Gospels. (Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, John 6)
This story is familiar to you. Great hungry crowds surround Jesus.
The disciples want to feed them.
Jesus asks (paraphrase), “What have you got?”
You know the rest of the story.
God can use you to accomplish wonders with things you’ve already got.
Let’s take an inventory.
What have you got?
A warm smile? A hug? A stash of encouraging, unaddressed greeting cards?
Clothes, shoes, dishes, furniture, toys, machines you don’t need or rarely use?
Excess money you can’t take with you when you leave earth?
The ability to change a headlight, babysit a child, oversee a funeral meal, provide transportation to a doctor appointment, or do yardwork?
God put those things in your hands for you to use. If you need them for yourself, okay.
If you don’t need them, rest assured someone else does.
Maybe, like Moses, all you have is a stick and a stuttering tongue.
Or, similar to the disciples, all you have are two frozen Banquet pot pies.
Not much in your hands.
But in God’s hands?
What is that in your hand?
If you have it, aren’t using it, and someone else needs it, your apathetic attitude may be saying to them, “Go ahead. Do without.”
And, by the way, you are not expressing that attitude just to the people who need what you have. You are expressing that attitude to the One who gave those gifts to you.
Of course, the best thing you can give anyone is an introduction to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
OPENING MY HAND WITH OFFERS TO YOU
- I can edit. God put that ability into my hands.
If you need a document edited, send it to me. I promise either to edit and return it to you, or to respond telling you why I am unable to edit it.
Send me your family Christmas letter to enclose with your Christmas cards. Send me an apology or thank-you letter you want to send to someone but are uncertain about its grammar and punctuation. Send me your letter to Santa.
Please do not send me:
- A doctorate dissertation.
- An angry rant.
- Sensual, steamy scenes from a romance novel you’re writing.
- Your child’s homework.
- Scientific data containing crazy symbols I don’t recognize.
Send your document, up to two, double-spaced pages, to email@example.com, and I will edit it and return it to you.
2. I can teach. God put that ability into my hands.
I will give your child (or you) two free tutoring sessions in any of the language arts subjects (reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, etc.) or math, up through pre-algebra.
You will need to provide transportation and textbooks, worksheets, etc. If the subject is upper elementary math, I may need the textbook to prepare ahead of the tutoring session.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 812.350.8122 to set up a tutoring session.
What is that in your hand?