Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ironing Socks

I'm often just plain overwhelmed by my job as a volunteer area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child. I lead a team of volunteers whose mission is to promote the Operation Christmas Child project in the three counties of northwestern PA. The thing about this job is that no matter how much you do there's always more to do. No amount of work, no amount of contacts is ever enough when so many children are waiting to hear that Jesus loves them.

So as I walked and prayed this morning I was reciting to God the list of all the calls that I need to make and all the tasks still undone. And that's when I started thinking about ironing socks.

When I was four years old I got this cute little ironing board and a toy iron. It was 1956 and the safety regulations weren't so stringent so you could plug the toy iron into the wall outlet and it even heated up just a tiny bit. I would set that ironing board up next to my mother's as she ironed so that I could help her. She gave me a very special job--she let me iron the socks. It took me maybe a year before I realized that she never ironed the socks when I wasn't helping; it was a job reserved for me.

As I remembered that this morning I thought about the character of our awesome God. Our omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and eternal God does not need me to complete His work. He's not biting His nails and waiting for me to make these phone calls. He already has it all accomplished, but because He loves me, He invites me to partner with Him. This job that seems so heavy to me at times is really just like ironing socks.

God, you know each of these billions of children who wait to know Your love. You know the number of hairs on each of their heads. You know each one of their thoughts. And You love each of them fully and completely.

You love me, too, God, and You promise to never leave me or forsake me. You promise, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light."

But because I see in my mind the faces of all those waiting children, today I'm going to get busy and iron the socks.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Gospel Opportunities According to TY

If you've been following this blog you know I'm on safari for stuffed animals to put into gift-filled shoeboxes to send to needy children through Operation Christmas Child. Last week God answered prayer in amazing ways and provided 1,058 animals. 367 of them were donated and the rest were purchased on my hunting trips through yard sales, rummage sales and thrift stores.

In my travels I find and purchase hundreds of TY Beanie Babies in mint condition with the tags still on them. My price limit is 25 cents for each of them and I can often find them even lower than that. You can tell that lots of them were part of collections. They have custom-made clear plastic devices attached to protect their heart tags so they can retain their value.

They were carefully selected and purchased mostly by persons seeking to make a profit. One acquaintance of mine has a father who, as a businessman, has made a fortune by clever dealings. He encouraged her to collect something that would appreciate in value and she chose to collect Beanies. Well, a decade later, her collection is worth a fraction of what she invested in it. In fact, I'd pay her 25 cents for each of those $5.00 animals she's packed away in containers.

The exciting thing, though, is that while those collectibles didn't live up to their investment potential monetarily, they can still make an investment for eternity. As fillers in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes they bring hope and the good news of Jesus to children who need to know that they have eternal value.

The Bible warns against "laying up treasure on earth where moth and rust corrupt" and encourages us to "lay up treasure in heaven". I'm still looking for 7,000 more stuffed animals.

If you have a collection of Beanies, are you willing to invest them for an eternal reward?