Not long ago I listened to a Californian talk about living in wildfire country. He described a day when uncontrollable flames crept toward his neighborhood. He and his family loaded their car, fully aware that anything they didn’t take could be lost forever. I’ve been there. When Hurricane Rita headed toward Houston, we went through an odd series of decisions:
- First we thought, “This isn’t really a problem. We don’t need to leave.”
- Then we discovered, “This is a problem, but the road is gridlocked. We can’t leave.”
- Finally, we said, “The traffic has thinned. It’s time to load up and drive away.” (Thanks, Rich and Nancy, for taking us in!)
Then came the question, “What do we take?” Journals. Photos. Laptops. Business documents. I remember those made the cut. Probably a few pieces of heirloom jewelry and my grandmother’s silver. Surprisingly, I don’t remember jamming the van to capacity. I don’t even recall being torn between stacks of belongings, trying to decide what had to be left behind. The importance of our “stuff” faded as Steve and I sought to move ourselves and our family to safety.
A few days later we came home and regular life began again. Well, maybe not so regular. People who had lost all their stuff needed some of ours. We had to switch from “What do we take?” to “What do we give?” And that question is one I need to be asking myself every day.
“Give and it will be given to you.”
“Lay up your treasures in heaven.”
“Consider the lilies of the field.”
All those verses find their way to plaques and postcards, but the rubber meets the road when we ask, “What do I give today?” What do we have that we can share or part with altogether? How much is too much to keep for ourselves when there is so much need around us? I’m grappling with those questions today. I don’t know the whole answer, but for many of us, the start of the answer is this: Give more. Want less.
Tell me how you answer the question of “What do I give today?” And may we receive God’s guidance as we navigate the many opportunities both to give and to receive.