The story so far: Arlene has done a thorough cleaning of her house. But now she can’t find a copy of her husband’s will, or the passwords to all her online accounts. Will her new start be sabotaged by her need for security from stuff?
All day Arlene battled anxiety. Besides all the money-related papers she’d thrown out, she’d surely also been too hasty about tossing things she needed only once in a while, and the spares, and the craft and hobby supplies, and the old clothes which could have been made into quilts, and the old Reader’s Digests she’d never got around to reading… What should she do? If only Dave were here to tell her. Frantically she grabbed a pencil and scrap of paper, and began making a list of all the things she’d have to replace.
When she couldn’t think of anything more for the list, she turned on the TV to get her mind off the whole fiasco. But as she clicked from channel to channel and glimpsed first a young couple in sober conversation with their insurance agent, then a woman loading her shopping cart, and another dusting her well-appointed house, she felt worse, not better, until a nice young man telling a story on the Christian Channel caught her attention.
He told about a seventy-year-old Mozambican pastor he’d met. One Friday afternoon at work the elderly African man had heard God tell him to go to South Africa and plant churches among the tribal people who worked in the mines. “And so he went home,” the young man said, “and told his wife, ‘Tomorrow we’re leaving for South Africa.’
“On their way out of the country, a Mozambican immigration officer met them at the border. He asked them where they were going, and could he see their passports.
“’We’re on our way to South Africa,’ the old pastor told him, ‘and we don’t have passports.’
“’How will you get in?’ the officer asked.
“’God will help us,’ the pastor replied.
“The officer let the man and his wife enter no-man’s land between Mozambique and South Africa. Before they got to the border, someone noticed them, thought they were tardy bus passengers, and motioned them onto a bus, which took them directly into the country.
“Once there, the miracles continued. At one point, though they were stopped by soldiers and asked again for papers, not only were they allowed go to on, but a soldier gave them money.
“The pastor didn’t have a passport. He didn’t have any papers. But he just got up the morning after God called him and left obediently with what he had. In the last ten years,” the man concluded, “he’s planted twenty churches…”
Arlene turned off the TV, stunned. This was the kind of unhampered faith and obedience she’d imagined the day she’d begun cleaning the house. And to think that just now she’d almost forfeited it by looking again to things for security and purpose.
She had just spent a month doing the best she could to obey the first part of Jesus’ command, “Sell whatsoever thou hast.” Who knew what His “Come ... follow me,” would mean for her? She could see herself mothering an orphanage of kids in Africa, cooking at camp all summer, doing hospital visits or – even volunteering at the church office.
She took the list she’d written, crumpled it in a ball, and laughed out loud as she threw it across the room. She wouldn’t be needing it after all.
Poetry portfolio: Violet Nesdoly / poems
Daily devotions for kids: Bible Drive-Thru