Friday, January 24, 2014

The Charitable Artist

                         (Collecting the change from our bank bottles in 2012)

Like so many things that become the parts of my school life, it started very casually. Some time around the first of November, I saw Lilian walking down the hall and she had a picture she was drawing. I made the comment that I would love artwork like that on my classroom wall. She told me it was mine when she completed it and the next day it was adorning the west wall of Room 258. Before that encounter, I really had almost no contact with Lilian, a WCS sixth grader. Now, I have eight of her masterpieces on my wall ranging from a tree to dogs to a holiday scene to an assortment of colorful designs. Yesterday, we were dismissed from an assembly a little early and Lilian and her buddy, Sarah, wanted to see my classroom so we took a short field trip. They came away impressed with the mural of the life of Jesus which covers half of the wall space. They liked the Coat of Arms display decorated by my five Bible classes. They appreciated the four drawings by Kendall, sister of my player, Sydney. Kendall, a fourth grader, would work on her portraits during games and present them to me at the conclusion- the latest is a drawn to scale side by side look at the two of us! And they really liked Lilian's handiwork stapled into the wall. I'm pretty sure they'll make a return visit at some point in time.

But this isn't really and Lilian and her artistic ability- it's about a thirty second conversation we had in the cafeteria on Wednesday. As I walked in at 11:32 AM, Lilian approached me and asked,
"Are we getting yellow bottles again this year?"
(She was referring to our Honduras/Haiti bank bottles we distribute yearly made possible by a gracious donation from WCS Bible teacher, Preston Hill, and his lovely wife, Ann. Due in large measure to these banks, we have collected approximately $135,000 over the past fifteen years to help build and maintain Christian orphanages in Honduras and Haiti.) I replied that we were in the process of ordering new ones but they wouldn't be yellow this year. Lilian's next words, and I quote, were these:
"Can I go ahead and start putting money in my old bottle?"

I was blown away. Let me give you some equivalent statements:
"Mom, is it OK if I wash and dry the dishes and then vacuum the carpet?"
"Coach, would you mind if I ran on my own and worked on ball handling drills in my driveway?"
"Ma'am/sir, would you have any objection to my re-reading my notes every evening to better prepare for the chapter tests in your English class?"

We haven't kicked off this annual effort led by our WCS yet, or even really mentioned it, but Lilian does not want to wait. I was reminded of Paul's writing in 2 Corinthians 8 when he spoke of the generosity of believers in Macedonia:

3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.

I can't  help but think that the highlighted part applies to Lilian: entirely on their own. She's ready to go. She's ready to help. She's ready to share. She's ready. I'm the holdup. Benevolence is possible because of people like this sixth grader. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God has good works prepared for us to do. Lilian got the message..... and she doesn't like waiting.

Applicable quote of the day:

"Pure love is a willingness to give without a thought of receiving anything in return."
Peace Pilgrim

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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