Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Celebrating an Overflow of...

Okay, you are probably expecting a play by play of the Overflow: Sanford outreach held this past weekend, however my report will be of a slightly different nature since I'm inclined to highlight a principle more than a run down of the days events. It was an incredible day and we had more food, groceries, clothes and other 'stuff' to give away. The Scriptures say "It is more blessed to give than to receive," and we felt and saw the evidence of that truth in a tangible way. People were 'shopping' for free, hauling boxes and boxes of things out to their vehicles while wondering if it was an early Christmas, or if there was a catch.

While I was thoroughly thrilled at the fact that we could give away so much, I was even more impacted by the fact that we were able to help a few people pay some of their outstanding utility bills. I can only imagine how tough it must be, being a single mother and always having more month than money. We had a single mother of four kids needing to pay her utility bill which was two months past due and scheduled for disconnection. It was a relatively small amount (compared to what many people spend in a month eating out), but for her it might as well have been a million dollars, since it was impossibly out of her reach. It took a simple phone call from the Church, to take care of the bill and guarantee that her lights stay on (at least for the present). As I processed through the idea of helping people with their utility bills, I began to think about failure, and the mindset that accompanies it. The majority of the people who applied for financial assistance at our outreach, appeared completely defeated and without hope. It reminded me of what Job had to say in his memoirs of the same name:

I make sad sounds as I eat; my groans pour out like water. Everything I feared and dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace or quietness. I have no rest, only trouble.

Many of the stories we heard reflect the same sentiments as Job. The truth is though, that the recipe for the fear of failure is not success but failure. That's why Bootcamp in the military, in an attempt to keep you alive in the event of war, simulates the extreme conditions of battle in an environment that is not always pristine and safe. I recently read a Harvard business School review, that extolled the value of failure in order to ultimately find success. It cited some of the most successful business moguls of our day as having failed monumentally before they found success. As I watched the precious people at Overflow: Sanford gratefully receive the gifts we were privileged to share with them, I realized that, though the majority of them see themselves as failures, they are simply walking a path towards their ultimate success. So, how was Overflow: Sanford? Amazingly successful!


Hope Clark said...

That is so true! You could see defeat in their faces. But there's such a differenc between "failing"
and "being a failure". So often, we personalize it and say, "I've failed, and so I'm a failure." When the truth is, we have all failed and come short of the glory of God. But that doesn't MAKE US "failures." We ARE God's good and precious workmanship--God doesn't make junk! How soothing to the soul that revelation would be to so many faces I saw that day.