“Then you see how every student well-trained in God’s kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it.” Matthew 13:52 (The Message)
Listening to a favorite podcast about books, the guest on the show astounded me. She is a book lover and had a room of bookshelves full of her favorites along with not-so-favorites and ones she hadn’t read. Did you see HAD?
In making room for her coming baby, the woman decided to give away all but ten of her books. You read that right! From a room full of books to ten! This mom-to-be filled bags with books and gave them to friends, neighbors, coworkers and her library.
The decision of this book cleansing woman created a welcoming space for her new baby. But it also baptized others with goodness. People who had received one of her bags of books later acknowledged more gratitude. Sentiments like:
I would have never picked this book up. But it is an absolute favorite now.
This book was like a friend I didn’t know I needed.
It was like you picked each book for me.
I read every one that was in my bag.
Incredible. A gift back to the giver who was just sharing what she had.
Looking at my shelves this week has had me thinking. Could I really give most of my books away? Would any of my friends and coworkers have the same reaction the ten-book lady was given?
Truthfully, I don’t think I will find just ten books in my house in the near future. But it does challenge me in fresh ways to consider the treasures in my life. Would they benefit others in clear ways? Are my earthly “treasures” the kind that point to the joy of The Word, Jesus. Would any of them bring healing or refuge, or hope?
This isn’t just about books or what’s in our homes. It is about our living. Jesus teaching his closest followers about the Kingdom said, “Then you see how every student well-trained in God’s kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it.” (Matt. 13:52)
How is your general store? Do you have what someone else needs in the moment? A cup of tea for a teary friend, babysitting a single parent’s children, gently worn shoes for a women’s shelter, prayers over the phone, the ‘how have you been?’ to the irritable neighbor, quiet for the hurried student, lunch with a senior adult.
Lord Jesus, let my home, my treasures, my ordinary stuff bring joy and surprise to others. Train and transform me so that the goodness of God can be shared by the bagsful!