To What Do We Owe the World

To What Do We Owe the World?

In the summer of 2021, my wife and I moved into our first “real” apartment. Having no money, we had all our friends drive up all our borrowed and hand-me-down possessions up I-79 to our new home. My wife went up with her girlfriends in the morning to prepare the house for unloading, and I stayed with the men to load stuff into cars to ship up north. It took all day.

Around 6 or 7 PM, I hauled the last carload north and arrived with everyone else to our new home. In one day, things had mostly been set in their ~generally~ appropriate areas. Amongst the things that were lying around, was a quality air conditioner unit. My Uncle had loaned it to me to use at our old apartment, and the windows of this new apartment were very large and the AC unit would not fit. My wife had set it outside for my parents to deliver back to my uncle, but over the course of the day the return pile had grown dangerously close to the throw out pile.

After hauling in a heavy sofa, the men stood outside, catching our breath. My spiritual mentor, John Thompson, stood next to me, scanning the piles of discarded treasure. With trepidation, he turned to me and said, “Dan. Do you mind if I have that Air Conditioner unit? I have a friend who could really use it.”

Now, John Thompson is a saint. Over the years, he has “collected” a host of people he takes care of. They range from social outcasts to those with mental illnesses who are generally dislikable. He also has old college buddies who are in very powerful or illustrious positions. Yet he calls all of them “friends.” And he asked me if one of them could have my uncle’s AC unit.

“Well John, I’d really like to, but I can’t right now. See, it’s my uncle’s, and I’d have to ask his permission, and he’s expecting to get it back at the end of next year. But I can ask him if you- “

“No! No! It’s okay!” John half laughed. His apprehensive look broke into relief. “I was actually hoping you’d say no. This friend is quite difficult. It’d be a lot of work for me to transport it to him, then convince him it’d be in his own interest to accept the help, then constantly remind him it’s ok he has it. Let’s just, deliver it back to your uncle.”

And this is what is what we owe the world. My friend once asked me, “Dan, where is the line distinguishing what are my Christian duties that I must fight and labor to achieve, and what is beyond the scope of my capabilities? Surely, God doesn’t want to nonstop bleed me dry. He’s given me a limit. How do I know what it is?”

We must be like John Thompson and the AC. When faced with an opportunity to give to God, we must try. We need not succeed, nor force the opportunity with all our being. But we must always be on the lookout for the opportunities God places in our lives, and prod to see if this is an area we can serve.

Whether it be riches or failure. Victory or defeat. We are not to judge the results as our self-worth. Certainly, metrics are there to guide us to self-improvement, if that is what is to be called on. But ultimately, we are only to judge ourselves based on whether or not we reacted to the opportunities God sets in front of us. And we are not to force God to make us the heirs of opportunities that aren’t ours. By reacting to God’s Will, and neither forcing our own nor shying away, we can return exactly the amount of talents entrusted to us before the master went away.

Glory to God for all things!

By Daniel Booth.

Written 2021. Published 2024.

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