"The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed." (Proverbs 11:25 NLT)
One of the benefits of being a Community Pastor is when someone needs to get rid of a piece of furniture or someone has a need and is looking for furniture, I get a call. No complaints; it's becoming a "perk". Let me explain.
ACF serves at Lakeside apartments, a federally subsidized community for elderly and disabled folks that might otherwise find themselves on the street. We recently heard of a young lady at Lakeside that had to get rid of her bed and couch because of bed bugs (yep, those are real). So we asked for a bed and couch from our community. In a day or two, we had the stuff staged in my garage (more perks!).
Matt Burns brought his pick-up, we loaded up the furniture and headed downtown. Once we arrived, we tried to fit the couch into the freight elevator. We tried all different angles, but that couch does not fit in that elevator. So, our only way to get the couch up to the 8th floor was the stairs...yep, the switchback stairs. That's 2 direction changes per level or 16 flights if you're keeping score. This was before all the great rain and cool temperatures hit our city; saying we weren't excited about our opportunity to serve would have been an understatement!
We were both a little too proud to say we couldn't do it, so we struggled through it and delivered the couch to the 8th floor. Our new friend was very quiet, maybe a little embarrassed, but she didn't seem very friendly or appreciative of our heroic efforts. We made a few more trips to take up the cushions, box springs, bed, sheets and pillows. At the end, we were whipped. Matt nudged me to pray with her, so I asked her if we could pray for her.
I asked her how we could pray...then the tears started coming down the formerly stone-faced young lady. She was born a crack baby and her mother is fighting a brutal battle with drugs. She had some other concerns...all very heavy and real. We shared Jesus love with her, prayed together and had a very sweet moment with her. I've been back down to Lakeside, ran into her and seen a much different, much happier young lady.
When we headed back to the truck, we were hot, tired, sore and very thirsty, but before we drank any water or gatorade, we were totally refreshed. Though the move turned into an ordeal, I bet I could call Matt the next time I get a couch (we'll measure the donated couch next time) and he'd be up for helping. The thing I keep learning is I can't put my limitations, schedule and conditions on the work that Jesus wants to do. He just wants us to say 'yes' and when He uses us to refresh others, we get refreshed, too.