Moms always want a clean car. Denny Pallay isn’t a mom, but he loves upkeep on cars and teaching people how to maintain their vehicles. This picture is the result of the plans we made that I posted about during the kids’ Spring Break.
On Saturday, from noon to four pm, Denny led the way as a dozen or so people from the high school and junior high groups from our church washed, waxed and vacuumed cars for any mom. If that wasn’t enough, he recruited his wife and daughter, Sharon and Wendy, to put together sweets for the moms as they waited. And the charge for this? Absolutely nothing.
It’s amazing how easy it is for some people to accept free things and how difficult it is for others. I’m no longer sure if there’s a worse option.
I’ve been in many situations where the church or organization I was with was giving things away for free: food, clothes or gifts at Christmas time. Most people accept things graciously, but sometimes there are people who know how the system works and do their best squeeze every last drop of generosity from their benefactors without the slightest hint of gratitude. Sometimes it makes me want to take it away and give it to somebody who’s more deserving, as if I’m the gratefulness police.
But sometimes there are people who aren’t used to receiving . Some of the moms at our car wash wanted to give a donation even though the sign said “free”. Each time that happened our team would call me over to explain why I had instructed them to refuse any such offers. It turned out to be a great opportunity to witness, “One of the values of our church is generosity. We’re teaching our kids to be willing to give things away for free, just like Jesus did all the time.”
It’s been difficult for me to receive things for free. Maybe it’s because receiving charity can be seen as a sign of weakness. Or, possibly it’s because I don’t want to owe anybody. If somebody gives me something, I feel an obligation to give something in return because I’m no free loader. And yet, that’s the very essence of our thanksgiving to God – accepting what he’s done for free. As a Christian, I should be used to being okay with that concept, especially if I thank him for the greatest gift every day.
I’m pretty sure all of the moms understood what we were doing. For most people, I believe it is much easier to give than to receive. That poses an interesting problem for evangelically minded people. Just think of your generosity in the name of Jesus a primer for telling them about the awesome gift of life that Jesus offers.