Sunday, March 30, 2014
Our Make a Difference Day
Acts 20:32-35 (NIV)
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
You heard me say several times that I love my little town/community. We have our share of good as well as a portion of bad. One of the things that has touched my life for the last 20 years is what we call "Make a Difference Day". Nationally it is a day of community service. A day set aside once a year for neighbors to help neighbors. It began over 20 years ago as a joint project between USA Weekend Magazine and the Points of Light organization.
Our version is a joint venturer between the churches of our community and the people around us who are in need. We take the opportunity of giving physical labor to also offer those we serve with an invitation to see the Jesus that is in each one of us. I know there are stories of people's lives changed by the actions and the love of those who participate. One of the stories that touched me was about an elderly woman living in a shack with holes in the wall and insects roaming throughout her home. She was eligible to relocate into the Fellowship home, but refused because she didn't feel like she needed the help. One of the committee leaders went to visit her and asked if there was anything that the "Make a Difference Day" group could do for her. She declined but listened as the man explained that this was something that the Christian community was doing and it would cost her nothing. After a few minutes of discussion, she said there is one thing that you might be able to do for me. She invited the man inside and led him to the bathroom. There he saw a 5 gallon bucket with a trashcan liner in it. On top of the bucket was the lid for her toilet. The spot where her toilet used to sit had deteriorated and the stool had actually fallen through the floor. The sink was barely hanging on the wall. She had been using the bucket, the liner and the lid as her toilet. The group made arrangements with a local plumber and they donated a rebuilt stool. A group of men rebuilt the floor, installed the stool and repaired the sink. She was overjoyed, but would not allow any other work to be done.
The next year she was approached by the "MADD" group and they patched the holes in walls, removed the carpeting and a chair from the front room and fumigated the house. The room was re-carpeted and a nice chair put in place of the old one. During the work she was treated to lunch and fellowship at the Catholic Church.
That took place in 1994 and 1995. Today she is living in the Fellowship Home and her house has been gone for many years. I would have never believed that someone was living like that in our little town. Over the years I found out that she may have been the worst case, but there are many living in conditions very similar to hers.
This year, Make a Difference Day is April 5 and 6th. I'm not able to participate like I used to, but I know that God hears my prayers and I can participate in that manner. I really enjoyed the fact that this was a group formed from many denominations with one common purpose. To reach out to those in need and present the Gospel in their actions and words.
Much love, Dennis