Our congregation council had to approve $1,000 to fix the refrigerator in the church kitchen last Thursday night. It is one of those necessary expenses to keeping a congregation running. It is linked to the ministry of hospitality – whether Sunday coffee hour or special events like our Oktoberfest, a funeral luncheon or for any of the community groups that use our building.
But there’s not much glamour in fixing a refrigerator. It’s much easier to ask people to donate to educate a small child in Rwanda or provide clean water to a village or kits for the homeless or Easter baskets for the children at the Fisher House at our local VA hospital.
I am very grateful for those who contribute to such causes. They are deeply important acts of mercy and faithfulness in a world with too little of each. But I am even more grateful for those who help to pay for the refrigerator repairs. There is little glory there, but such generosity is the foundation underneath all the others.
It matters to our community that there is a place for people to meet. It matters that there is a playground for children and a prayer labyrinth to walk. It matters that there are shaded picnic tables at which to visit and some lawn left to feel the grass between your toes. (This is California, and grass requires water, so it is now something of a luxury – and though we have reduced the size of our lawn, mindful of the call to care for the earth, we care also for one another and our lawn matters to those who linger here from the small, lawnless homes and apartments around us.)
Who would have imagined that donating to the water bill would be a random act of kindness? Or paying for the youth worker who has such deep bonds with our children? Or providing for the organist whose music causes people to linger amidst its beauty after worship – and then to visit with one another rather than rushing off to coffee or the rest of their day.
We are a society deeply ingrained with the notion that you pay for what you want. But I am deeply grateful for those who are willing to pay for what others need – or what simply adds grace and beauty to life – whether these are obvious things like food and shelter, or the hidden things like a refrigerator repair.
Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AToolbox_(7263382550).jpg By florianric from Deutschland (Toolbox) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons