09 May 2007
pride, shame, and the nature of blessings
The man we will be working with in South Africa, Pastor Willie, taught me (Kyle) an invaluable lesson about pride, shame, and the nature of blessings while I lived with him in 2004. We were responsible for feeding hundreds of people every week. Our budget to do so was usually nothing. So, every week, Willie would get on the phone and call everyone he knew.
"Can you spare a chicken?"
"Do you think you could donate some cornmeal?"
"Don't you have a couple of bucks for us here to help with the feeding?"
"Anything you have, we will accept with pleasure."
No shame in asking, he said. Sometimes there are great blessings floating out in the air - you must simply do the work to claim them.
After making all of the calls, we would make a trip to the local grocery store. In reality, we would show up at the back of the store, the loading dock. There, we would ask for, and recieve, all of the expired foods that the store could not sell. We would take the food - week-old sushi and rotting vegetables - and take a portion that was needed to make the meal for the night. Then, we would tell the community that they could each have one sack-full. Never was one morsel left over.
Willie did not consider any of it begging. He considered it surviving. He considered it claiming the blessings that were set aside for that community. Never did he worry about what people might be saying behind him. Never did he allow personal pride to deter him. With Willie, there is no shame in serving people that the world has forgotten - no matter what it might require of him.
And with Willie, there has never been a week that the poor people of that community have not been fed.