Monday, December 14, 2009

Humbled by my baby brother...

Yesterday....I was truly humbled by my brother!

We'd all gone together to this Bible Study where a number of our friends meet regularly. And even though it wasn't like church, everyone always looked nice and well kept. But this particular day, one of the teenage guys came in wearing old dirty tattered jeans, and and a grimy shirt that looked like he'd just come in from working in the barn. I don't know this kid real well, to be honest. I know that his family struggles financially, but the rest of the members of his family were wearing appropriate clean clothing, and I've seen him in better clothes before. So in my mind, I was thinking, "So why wasn't HE?" It kinda bugged me. I mean, I know this isn't church or anything, but this is Bible Study, and this is a time when we all get together to meet our God, and to pray and fellowship and spend some deep time in God's word...why couldn't this teenager have just a little more respect????

All the while I was standing there thinking critical thoughts in my heart, my little brother Daniel (who actually isn't soooo little anymore - he's like 6'2'') came up and starting talking with this guy. They were just visiting about life, and Daniel was making him feel warm and welcomed. I'm not really into teenage boys conversations, so I walked away to find another conversation.

However, a little while later, I noticed this guy disappear, and a few minutes after he came back wearing a nice clean set of dress clothes. He looked fresh and clean and definitely much more in line for a Bible study. And I was thinking, "Wow!!! So he did bring clean clothes after all. He must just not have had time to change before he came in. Well, good for him!"

Incidentally, my brother had also changed. He was now wearing his overalls. They are brand new, so look nice, but I was thinking in my head, "What? Why did Daniel change?? I guess he must have wanted to show-off his new overalls or something..." but there were people all around, so I just kept my thoughts to myself. It didn't dawn on me why the significance of the switch, nor did I realize that the clothes this troubled teen was now wearing looked strikingly similar to what Daniel had been wearing...

Later on, as we were driving away, my mom gave Daniel a hug.

"That was sooooo unselfish of you to think of giving Ben, your nice dress clothes! I'm proud of you!" she affirmed. "They looked like they fit about perfect too!"

Now I was aghast...

"WHAT???? YOU gave that guy your clothes??" I asked in amazement????? "I had no idea???" Daniel just smiled. "Yep, and he gave the family $200 to help with expenses too!" my mom added. (Insert note: my brother isn't making much of any kind of pay-check right now, so his money is limited too! Yet, nothing seems to stop his generous heart!)

"Wow...." I continued in amazement. "I had no clue. I just thought Ben had some other clothes he hadn't had time to change into. And actually, it was because of YOU!!! I am sooo amazed!!! No wonder you changed into your overalls Daniel? I was wondering why you did that when you already looked soooo nice in your dress clothes!!!"

I sat back in silence...

Here the whole time I'd been thinking critical thoughts in my heart about this poor boy. He surely wasn't ready for any Bible study. And my little brother Daniel had just marched into the scene, seen the need, and done something about it....even if it meant giving the shirt of his own back. I was truly chastised. In fact, I think it's pretty obvious...I was the one that really wasn't ready for Bible study that day. "God forgive me! I have been humbled and reminded once again...what matters most is not the outside, but the heart!"

Next time, I may not give the poor teenage boy my clothes (I don't think he would wear them anyway) but I will seek to do what I can, and I will be more careful about my critical heart towards others.

Thanks Daniel, for the important lesson!


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Our younger siblings do grow up so fast! :) And, they do teach us amazing things! What a great lesson to learn! :)

From another perspective...
When I was in 4th grade, the best clothes I ever had to wear to school were ones my aunt got from the salvation army. We lived in a trailer next to my grandfather's house out in the county by the corn fields, and we couldn't bathe regularly because all we had was well water. That was also the year that my mother was no longer in the home, and the DCFS people were coming to teach me how to sew, so that I could learn homemaking skills. I was only in 4th grade. Lol. :) And, I never wanted to sew back then! :D

Well, I had a lot of pride back then. There were people at Christmas always wanting to give us gifts or to take us to the bank Christmas party so we could have something. I was the one, not wanting anything but for people to stop judging me or my family. What we had that year was not the life I knew in Washington State, and it's definitely not something I would have chosen for myself. But, I felt like nobody knew any of that. We were new to the area, and we were obviously poor. It was easy to be misunderstood.

I remember one day, one of my jelly shoes (bright orange) had it's last jelly tie broken on the school bus on our way to lunch. I had to scoot my shoe off the bus and throughout the cafeteria, or I wouldn't have a shoe on my foot. I remembered being so embarrassed, hoping that nobody else saw this. I wanted to run and hide. But, I survived. And, today, I realize that all that built character in me. God used it all to grow compassion and love in my heart.

In short...if my broken jellies were the only ones I had to go to a Bible Study in...should I stay home? My pride back then would not have probably wanted me to, because I know better than to be presentable before God, but if it's all I had...God would have wanted me to be humble and be who I simply am with where He has simply put me.

Honestly, I'm humbled by the guy, as well, who took the set of clothes from your brother. It takes great courage to receive a gift in the midst of being judged and criticised, to become acceptable to the norm. He humbled himself to bless the rest of you all. :)

That is why today I feel deep compassion for those who have little and who may get made fun of for it. I'm also reminded of Amy Carmichael...right before her conversion, she had an encounter with a beggar lady outside of her church...The Lord prompted her and her brother to help her carry her load--in front of all the other church people who were in their proper attire, she obeyed, but when they passed by her, she apparently hid her face. As she passed by a fountain, she heard a Word from the Lord that changed her life. He said, ""Gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay and straw -- the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If the foundation survives, he will receive the reward."

May our Bible Studies, our acts of service, our every good work be prompted by the Love of Jesus Christ first. God bless you, sister! Thanks for sharing this story! :) Love you!

Sarah said...

precious example. thank you so much for sharing it. I will remember....

Melody said...

Thanks for your comment and story Christine! Yeah, the reason that this experience was extra humbling to me is, I've been here too.... I grew up getting clothes from "good-wills" too....still do a lot of the time!!! And I've also helped clothe others who had little for none. But for some reason on this occasion, I was bothered because I justifiably thought the boy was just showing his attitude. His sister told us, she'd even asked him to change. But anyway....that's no excuse...he still needed someone to reach love, and thankfully, someone did!! I praise the Lord that He is continually reminding us again of what it means to really LOVE Him.

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." Mk 12:30,31

ur Harmony said...

OMGdnss! DARE to be a DANIEL, DARE to stand alone, Dare to have a purpose true, Dare to make it known!!!

YOUR brother is truly remarkable!!!

give him a huge big hug from me please...!