Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Can a cookie change the world?

I worked with a lady once who told me this story.
When she was a little girl a friend invited her to VBS. She went because her friend told her they had cookies. Her friend was right, not only were there cookies, but the workers at VBS made it fun so she went all week. Then her friend moved and she never set foot in a church again during her childhood.
Fast forward to collage. She is a freshman in college. It's harder than she expected. More expensive than she expected. Her boyfriend broke up with her. Her mom moved in with a new boyfriend. Life was tough. She decided life was not worth it. She purchased sleeping pills and then decided that she would pack her stuff up so her mom would not have to do it. As she cleared her desk, she picked up the can that had always held her pencils. It had a pretty butterfly sticker on it she liked. She picked it up and turned it around and on the back it had another sticker that said "Jesus loves me". She remembered that she had made the little can in that VBS so long ago. As she looked at that sticker she wondered if it was true. She didn't remember much from that VBS, except that there were good cookies and it was fun. She remembered that one of her classmates went to church. She wasn't preachy or anything, but she said she could not attend a study group brunch on Sunday because she had church. She was a nice girl and was always kind to everyone. Her number was on the list for the study group. So my friend called this girl who came right over and answered all her questions about Jesus. By the time I met this woman she was a mom and wife. She volunteered and taught Sunday School. She told me once that she was only alive and saved by the Grace of God and the chain of people he put together. Had one link in that chain not done it's job, she might have been lost.
Note something the people in her chain, were all women. None of the women in that chain were clergy or missionaries. None did anything big. One baked cookies for VBS. One volunteered to work for a week at VBS and made it fun. One came up with a simple, inexpensive craft. One simply lived her faith. Add to that that someone in the congergation probably read that VBS needed cans, and took the time to wash out a can and bring it up to the church. Someone donated a few dollars to buy stickers. All little things really. All things that helped this woman who now does a lot to help others. There were people in my own life. The Sunday School teacher who held me in her lap as she told the story of the lost sheep and acted it out. She made the story come alive for me and made it personal. There was a lady in our church who when I was 14 and going to a leadership weekend retreat took me shopping and bought my first deoderant and some nice smelling shampoo (my family could only afford the bargain stuff we all shared) and a nightgown and robe set that made me feel like a princess. She told me someone had done something similar for her when she was young.
There was the friend who was the first "born again type Christian" to ask me what I beleived rather than to assume she knew. When my daughter had her first surgery, it was kind of a scary time for us. But when we checked into the hospital they gave her a little goodie bag of toys and a handmade baby quilt. (she was 14 months old at the time)That quilt was conforting. Knowing someone had cared enough to do this work for my child, even though they didn't know her. It made her stay better. When Paulina came home the ladies in my bible study were not only there at the airport seeing me off as I made my first trip out of the country alone, but when we got home half our church was there with banners and balloons and gifts. Waiting at home was a freshly cooked dinner. When I came back to bible study there was a shower. It was such a wonderful feeling.
So no matter what your gift, large or small, you can make a difference. Whether it's a cookie, a quilt, a smile, a cassarole, a shoulder for someone to lean on, a cash gift or a prayer. Any gift, when given to the glory of God will reap benefits that will astound you when you get to heaven and see the chain you were a part of and the results of that.

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