Updated: Oct 26, 2018
BY PASTOR TAE GAM
The value of a person’s life is measured in how much is given away. A friend came over recently. While I was preparing dinner, she noticed that my pantry was a mess. She took a ‘before’ pic and then began emptying everything out, inventorying what was in there that was useful and throwing away things that had expired. I appreciated being able to actually walk into my pantry and see what was in there, but the funniest part was watching my husband walk over to the pantry, not once, not twice, but three times to turn the light on and stare lovingly into that space—nodding his head in affirmation.
That afternoon revealed not just a friend’s willingness to get her hands dirty (literally) and to use her gifting, passion, and strength to serve her messy, absent-minded, and chaotic friend… but also three gallons of soy sauce. Three gallons of unopened Kikkoman soy sauce.
What was I planning to do with all that soy sauce?
The truth is, I had three gallons of soy sauce because I am a post-War, poverty-stricken, 60-year-old Korean grandmother trapped in a slightly-over-30-year-old woman’s body.
It is a shame to run out of soy sauce! I might need to drive a mile out to buy one from my grocery store that stays open 24 hours a day.
The other aspect of my soy sauce hoarding is that I simply didn’t know that my alter ego had already purchased soy sauce. Because my pantry hadn’t been inventoried or organized, I didn’t know what I already had. If it weren’t for my Martha Stewart friend (minus prison time), I might have bought another gallon of soy sauce yesterday when I saw that it was on sale for $4 off its normal price.
What about you? Have you ever seen a mess in someone’s life and thought to yourself, I could help them… but then talked yourself out of it because it might be taken the wrong way, as offensive or prideful? Have you ever considered that it might be an act of love for you to get your hands dirty and sift through what has to be thrown out, what should be consolidated, and what should be simply displayed?
All of this takes place in the context of relationships and mutual submission. My friend didn’t help so that she could brag about herself and embarrass me. She did it because we had already talked about my desire to improve in these areas. She offered me what she had because I didn’t hide my mess from her, and I was open to her direction. Of course, it’s much easier to be open about a messy pantry than a messy painful past—but the reward of standing back and seeing an incredible transformation and change is that much more satisfying too.
Open Door, I am encouraging you to consider how YOU can give your life away. What skills, talents, gifts, experiences, and strengths can you leverage on behalf of someone else? What lessons have you learned through your failures and disappointments? And can you let go of your pride and let people into see your mess and help you? It goes both ways.
This past season in Women’s Ministry, we have engaged in leveraging the good, bad, and the ugly for the sake of someone else. Table Talk and the book club for 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess have been intentional efforts by women for the purpose of giving away our lives for the sake of someone else and so that we can hear from God more clearly.
We are serious about being women who love one another enough to roll up our sleeves and get to work. At the end of the day, we don’t want to discover three unopened gallons of soy sauce sitting in our pantry when we could have used it all along to season an assortment of deliciousness.
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.” -Luke 17:33
Pastor Tae Gam oversees the Women’s Ministry at ODPC. Image Source / Peter Park