It's hard to let go. It's also hard not to get distracted by things.
In my last year of high school, there was a couple who mentored a number of us in my youth group. We were stunned when at the end of the year they gave each of us (6 or 7 youth) cheques for $1000 to go to a Christian college or university. They had been saving up to get a pool in their backyard but were convicted that they should give us the money instead. It was hard on their kids to come to grips with that choice.
It was a powerful teaching moment for me as I went off to Tyndale thinking about how we are not autonomous – that we don't move forward on our own, that giving does require letting go, and that there is a power in holding money lightly.
It's hard for our kids to let go of their things – even things they've outgrown or don't have need of anymore. When they were really little it seemed like they thought that the things that were being given away were parts of themselves, like we were giving a part of them away.
Now, they rally when they know where the things they have loved are going, whether that's to a clothing drive at school or to a younger friend. Often they ask if they can take a picture of whatever it is that is leaving. And some things that have been important to them or to us, we keep.
It's hard to find the balance. I want my kids to have a sense of connection to things without being overcome by that. I want our kids to be connected to the stuffed animals friends have made for them, for the blankets that have been quilted with love, to the gifts that have been given to them. I want them to learn how to receive. I also want them to learn how to give.
And that has been the great gift of MCC to our family: helping us to learn to receive and to give. Learning what to receive and what to give. Each time my children, Kara and Henry, come with me to an MCC meeting I am taken aback with how much they learn about receiving and about giving. MCC reminds us of the broader world and connects us to the people in it.
A few weeks ago I sat with Bishop Selwanos from Syria who is walking a path of faith that is focused on what is important. On MCC's website now is a blog from Rev. Ibrahim Nsier. He writes:
"Today, I preached that we should use what God has given us. No one can say, 'I don’t have,' because if God has given us even a tiny thing, we can do a lot with this tiny thing in this situation in this community."
He goes on to talk about finding security in Jesus. And so as a family we choose to receive these stories. We choose to give our attention, our prayers, our money to be part of the healing that is needed there and in other ways where MCC is building mutually-transformative relationships – healthy relationships of receiving and giving in so many places.
Of course, talking about MCC and living simply wouldn't be complete without talking about Thrift Shops! The proceeds of MCC Thrift Shops contribute significantly to the work of MCC and it is a lot of fun to give things away to the shops…and to receive some thrift shop items!
For more information on when your location is participating in RePurpose, go to: