We all have different ways of “unwinding”… for some, a leisurely walk fills the bill or an endorphin-pumping workout at the gym; for others, it may be getting lost in a novel or finding an outlet in cooking. I even have friends who clean like mad fiends! But, for me, it’s escaping into a great movie.
So, this month brought a SPECIAL treat – an entire month of Audrey Hepburn movies on my classic movie channel! And, among the well-known jewels like “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”… “Roman Holiday”… “My Fair Lady”… “Funny Face”… I delighted in finding a frequently-overlooked gem: “The Nun’s Story.”
In a nutshell, it’s the true story of Gabrielle Van Der Mal, the Belgian-born daughter of a prominent surgeon, who left everything behind to join a convent and serve God by tending to the people of the Congo. Her father’s training must have had an impact, as she excelled in her medical studies and eventually, she DID have the opportunity to work alongside a doctor in the Belgian Congo.
However, moving and touching as this performance was, it got me thinking… and brought me back to what we touched on a couple of weeks ago – the idea of “waste.” Gabrielle’s family thought it was a “waste” for her to abandon her life and comforts to become a nun. After she became Sister Luke, the doctor she so diligently served in the Congo thought it was a “waste” for such a compassionate woman to be a nun. And, at the onset of World War II in Europe, her church superiors decried the “waste” when she renounced her vows – unable to remain neutral about the atrocities occurring all around her.
Depending on your perspective, anyone can find “waste” around them. And in each of the instances above, not a single scrap of food is mentioned among all that “waste!”
Waste goes FAR beyond food – or even, money. Think of yourself and your life as a bucket, filled with all your gifts, assets, desires, resources and people. Now, imagine ALL of those different components as something you can “waste.”
Do you “waste” your time, spending hours scrolling through social media? Do you “waste” your artistic abilities just doodling on a notepad? Do you “waste” your gift with language using it to cut people down? Do you “waste” the boundless support and assistance available from the people in your life?
See? We’re all guilty of “waste” – even if we still adhere to the “clean plate” mantra of our parents! You can be wise with your money, but nonetheless live a “wasteful” life. And conversely, you can have limited financial resources, but STILL make a contribution!
Let’s circle back around to those earlier examples of “waste” to see what you COULD do. Spare time to mindlessly share cute kitten videos? You COULD volunteer a few hours to a charity! Entertaining coworkers with your amusing caricatures? You COULD offer to design something for a nonprofit or even sell your art at a local flea market and use THOSE proceeds to donate! Have a quick wit and flare with language? You COULD channel your talent and passion into writing a blog or sharing your story about a cause you believe in deeply!
God gives EACH of us a virtually limitless supply of gifts and resources – and it’s up to us to use them wisely. “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith.” (Romans 12:6)
He has a divine plan not only for YOUR life, but for eternity… and YOU have a role to play. Now, once again, his directives come with a “what’s in it for me” promise: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son… and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also GLORIFIED.” (Romans 8:28-30)
Sounds like a win-win scenario! You get the satisfaction, fulfillment and blessings from serving and those you serve benefit from your contributions. So, the next time you feel compelled to “give” but may lack the funds, consider accessing all those UNTAPPED resources at your fingertips. Your little “drop in the bucket” could be THE drop that overflows the bucket!
Consider our original reference to Sister Luke. She gave of herself – her compassion, her medical gifts, her intelligence – with not one red penny in sight. Now don’t get us wrong, financial donations DO have an impact and remain vital to not only our work at King’s Ransom Foundation, but to all charitable organizations. But don’t sell yourself short, if money does not happen to be among your current resources, you CAN still make a difference!
Never let it be said at the end of YOUR life, “What a waste!”