Benevolence

benevolence.9

“Benevolence”
Colossians 3:12
Original Mixed Media, 30″ x 30″
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For years I have volunteered at my church’s food pantry. The pantry provides breakfast, groceries, assistance with signing up for healthcare, free haircuts, and other resources. It is the place I most intimately encounter the kingdom of God. I have two simple tasks:  take groceries out to peoples cars, and ask if they would like prayer for anything.

The ‘pantry prayers’ often break my heart:  “Please pray for me; I’ve lost most of my family to the ebola breakout;” “I don’t know what to do; we took in this family and found out the father was selling meth out of our house. If we throw him out, the children go with him, and we love those kids.” The prayer requests often seem to reveal this white-knuckled hanging onto God coupled with helping someone else. All of us, whether giving or receiving, are called to “clothe [ourselves] with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12b) The pantry is a wonderful training ground for benevolence, given and received.

I have been most articulately loved and taught by the vulnerable. This is counterintuitive to the way I naturally think, and I know God’s smiling.