I thought about this story recently when I was packing up a large bag of gently used clothing to donate to a local charity. I’ve been so discombobulated these last few weeks that I had to be sure I was sending off the old and keeping the new!!
Marni picked up the mail and shuffled through it, separating the junk from the real thing. She let out an exhausted sigh. “So much waste,” she mumbled to herself as she turned on the shredder. Just then she noticed a post card from a local charity. A driver would be in her neighborhood in a few days. If she put a marked bag of her discards at the curb, he would pick them up.
What a great service! Marni hated lugging unwanted items to the drop-off spot in town. Now she’d be spared that chore.
The next morning Marni went through her clothes closet, the garage, and the kitchen, gathering up all the shoes, jackets, blouses, knickknacks, and kitchenware she no longer wanted or used. What a relief it would be to declutter her house and at the same time help people in need.
By the afternoon she had one large box ready to set at the curb and two large black bags, each one properly designated for the charity pickup. When the truck arrived a few days later, Marni watched through the front window, as the driver loaded her box and bags onto the truck. That was that! She felt good.
Later in the week, Marni dressed for a luncheon she and a friend had agreed to attend. She chose her lavender skirt and matching sweater and then reached for her black flats—the new ones she’d purchased on sale at Blaine’s Department Store just weeks before. But they were not in her closet, nor at the door where she often left her shoes when she came in from outside.
Maybe they were still in the store box, but no, she remembered tossing the container into the recycling bin. Marni combed the house but the black shoes were gone.
Then it hit her! She’d probably put them in with the items for the charity. Oh no! How could she have made such a mistake? She had intended to give away her old flats, not her new ones.
She sank into a chair. What now? How embarrassing it would be to call the charity office and ask to have them returned. Anyway, they were probably long gone to someone who shopped at the thrift shop. What a stupid mistake she’d made and what a loss.
Marni sat for a few moments, thinking about what she’d done. Then suddenly it came to her. God was in this with her. He must have had a special person in mind for these shoes—someone who really needed a pair just her size. She might never find out who that person was, but she was sure her new shoes would be a blessing. “Thank you,” God, she prayed, “for using me in a way I’d never have thought of on my own.”
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you . . .
~ Matthew 7:12