Stewardship of Life

Open Your Paws (and your hands)!

Posted in Just Living by Sharron R. Lucas on March 28, 2010
Tags: , , , , ,

One of my favorite stories is about the raccoon that happened upon a mason jar full of shiny buttons. Now being the clever and creative animal that she was, she had visions of how these baubles would enhance the décor of her nest, so she plunged both paws into the jar and grabbed hold of fistfuls of the twinkly treasure. When she tried to pull her bounty forth from the jar, she discovered to her dismay that her paws would not come out. She pulled and tugged and fretted and pulled some more. She chattered and kicked at the jar with her back paws. Try as she might, she could not remove her prizes from their glassy prison. Finally, in frustration she let go of everything, and with a disgusted chatter headed back to her nest defeated without so much as one button. Had she simply been willing to extract one button at a time, she could have “bedazzled” her boudoir in short order. Instead her greed and unwillingness to open her hands to possibility prevented any chance of success.

How often do we humans behave like said raccoon? We clutch tenaciously at our stuff, afraid that if we let some of it go…well, let’s just say it won’t be good. What if we can’t replace something? What if we need it? Don’t you know that the minute you get rid of something is exactly when you’ll need it? When we ask questions like that, we tend to bind ourselves to our stuff, and we miss a great opportunity at freedom AND community.

Before we moved a couple of weeks ago, we gave away a lot of stuff. We sold our furniture and a few other things to finance the move, but we also gave away everything from cameras to books to kitchen utensils to clothes and more. When you try to limit your possessions to what will fit in two cars and a few boxes, you quickly realize just how much “stuff” clogs your life. Hopefully a lot of our “stuff” will be sold at the Sheyenne community’s secondhand store, where the proceeds will benefit the school repurposing project.

The funny thing is that I don’t even remember a whole lot of what we left behind. It wasn’t crucial to our existence. In fact, it wasn’t necessary at all. Even more importantly, by opening our hands and letting go of our stuff so that others might benefit from it, we opened ourselves to the generosity of others.

My mother put the word out among her friends about how we had left so much behind, and things started to appear—linens, a complete set of Pyrex bake ware, a used blender, a can opener, and so much more. We even ended up with a wok—something I’d long wanted. Friends came to help us move our used washer and dryer into the apartment and our floor-model-as-is sofa and loveseat. We have plenty; in fact, we have abundance. I’ve been so deeply moved and humbled by the outpouring of love and support both from our friends in North Dakota and friends in Tennessee.

Yes, when you open your hands and your heart to others, when you share what you have, and when you extend a helping hand and some hospitality, blessings rain down all around. So don’t be a raccoon! Keep your paws open and be prepared to be amazed at the results.

Do you have a story about open hands and hearts to share? I’d love to hear it!

4 Responses to 'Open Your Paws (and your hands)!'

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  1. Robert Leaverton said,

    I am becoming a believer. But I will have to pass judgment on my stuff before I lean on Susan to part with her stuff. Together – we have too much stuff! The allurement and attraction to have stuff is the apple in the garden on the tree of Good and Evil we face today. Temptation never rests.

    • Robert, you make a good point. Life in our contemporary western culture wilprovides an abundance of temptations to buy, consume, and “own.” Scripture lifts up a different order–one that’s easier read and said than done and lived. So we keep on trying and lift each other up on the journey. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Ivy said,

    I love it. I’m working on my final project for Dr. Carlson’ class on epistles. The option I chose was to write a stewardship sermon and do a Bible study with handouts etc. I am making use of this post and illustration. Thanks so very much.


    • Thanks, Ivy. Sounds like a good project. I’d love to see a copy when you’re finished. Glad our SOLI resources were useful!

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