If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18
When a member of our church was ill, we took meals to her family for weeks. No one took leftovers, food that had been partially eaten, or food on dirty plates. We made—or bought—a fresh meal on clean dishes.
In our rural ministry, people often sent things for families we served. Many sent new toys and clothes or the best of their give-aways. Others, however, sent things that were dirty, torn, or broken. One family sent old toys saying they were getting new ones for their kids. Another family, after moving to a pricey neighborhood, sent us old mattress covers.
Some donation sites can clean and repair items (though few I know do), but we did not. While every donation was given with good intentions, sometimes I was disheartened. It was as if the giver had said: “Here’s something for people who don’t deserve any better. They should be happy with stained, ripped, button-less clothes and broken toys.”
“Not good enough” was a message the children in our neighborhood heard too often. We wanted them to know they were beautifully and wonderfully made by God, who loved them. Through Jesus, they received complete salvation—not second-hand, not left over. Lent is traditionally a time of “almsgiving.” May it also be a time we give alms that are worthy of the one in whose name they are given.
Prayer: We give You but Your own, in any gifts we bring, all that we have is Yours alone, a trust from You, our King. Amen.
Response: Call a local mission and ask what you can provide for someone in need.
(Devotions from "Cross of Ashes" by Christine Weerts, a Lenten devotional provided by Lutheran Hour Ministries. Copyright 2005, Int'l LLL. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend.)
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