Birthday boy and Bun hoarding disaster

This weekend we got together with our some of church friends and family to celebrate the small wonder that is our youngest son.  We celebrate for a whole week, in this case it was a celebration of all things 3 (that is my totally favourite age and I am feeling a bit nostalgic about not being done with that age….oh the discovery of the world around them, of relationships and of words…how I love the discovery of words, we laugh daily at the things Jude says and celebrate his helpfulness and marvel at how he sometimes cannot stop his arms from flailing out and punching every child in the room…sigh…okay, I could be done with that phase….wait is that a phase?  I pray it’s a phase.  Anyways I digress, the party, oh the party.  My husband loves to plan and execute huge events, I am more of a close friends kind of party-er, but this was an all out party. We invitedIMG_0364 the whole Indian church to a picnic at the beach and Adam brought food for 100 people.  My friend Rinkhy stayed home from church to cook some great Indian food including poori (smaller, yummier roti….which she always makes specially for me because she loves me).   It was a feast.  Adam made monster cookies, I made cake and we ate everything anyone else brought too!  It was overwhelming, it was fun, everyone had a great time, Jude couldn’t stop smiling and just swam in the ocean for 3 hours, mostly by himself, watching everyone on the beach with a great satisfaction that this was his party!   So at the end of the party I begin to pack things up and something startling happened.  A western mindset of hoarding came down on me so hard that I began to quickly put away the buns.  There were like 10 bags of buns left on the tarp and I started IMG_0366putting them away into our boxes.  People came and were asking for them and I started to get mad (only inside….I was probably still smiling on the outside, but they sometimes don’t match!).  I started thinking, “We just fed you all, many of you brought nothing and now you want to take the leftovers home?  Oh no, no, no. These are my buns….mine.”  I actually felt this huge amount of resentment as person after person came up and took buns out my boxes…took them and put them in their bags and took them home.  I began to feel this sense of cultural IMG_0375division. This just does not happen in Canada.  I quickly decided I was going to take things into my own hands and get lids on those boxes.  Those buns were mine and I had this crazy feeling that I must save the buns…what on earth was I doing…more importantly what in heaven was I doing?

As I write this, I see a big bag of buns that I saved from the clutches of the farming families in our lovely developing nation…I have a bag of 5 dozen buns on my table.  Honestly, 5 dozen buns, what am I going to do with 5 dozen buns?  I don’t even let my kids eat more than 2 and now they are 3 days old….seriously….5 dozen old buns, what is wrong with me?

IMG_0372I shared this with Adam the day of the party, it is the first cultural tension where I couldn’t enjoy the moment.  Is this the beginning of culture shock?  Possibly, but for me it opened a whole new thought. As I as reflecting on it, thinking it over and I had a light bulb moment as I was reading a blog by Rachel Held Evans about the Generous Master  http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/lectionary-workers-vineyard-landowner

.  She was talking about Matthew 20:1-16.  It is in the last verses where the parable says:

Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

And then Rachel says this later down in the blog and it hit me like a ton of bricks (or like a bag of 5 dozen, 3 day old buns)

“And here we get to the punchline of the parable: “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?” asks the landowner. “Or are you envious because I am generous?

Are you envious because I am generous? Let that question soak down to the marrow.

Really, this parable isn’t about the workers. It’s about landowner.  This is God’s Vineyard, God’s table, God’s Kingdom and God’s world. We don’t make the invitation list and we don’t dole out the gifts. And it’s a good thing too because no doubt we would try to make it all fair. No doubt we’d make sure everyone got what they deserved. But God isn’t fair. God is irrationally and irresponsibly generous. His mercies are infinite, offensive, new every morning.”

Suddenly my ‘cultural issue’ is not about culture, but about my view of my generous God and how I sometimes feel the need to take from the needy to protect myself, to decide who has had enough and who hasn’t, because quite frankly His generosity makes me nervous.  What if we don’t have enough?  What if He gives everything away and there is nothing left for me?  Is that what I believe?  Yup, in the secret, in the way I live, in the way I grab buns from developing world farmers.  My actions were speaking louder than my words.  I would never admit those things, I don’t think I even think I could have formulated those thoughts but it’s true.  Oh my, what do I do?  Deliver 3 day old buns?  So here I am, staring at my buns, asking God for a fresh revelation of His generosity and for a great heart work to give freely and to fully trust in Him as my provider.  Lord, help my unbelief.

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4 Comments

  • inid says:

    WOW. wow. wow.

  • Jen H. says:

    That is exactly what I was going to say Inid!!! 🙂 Sooo powerful Kim- I love and appreciate the openness, honesty and the realness behind this post. I feel challenged to see where I am being selfish with things that I think are ‘mine,’ and asking God what it may look like to give that away. I absolutely love this story.

    And happy birthday Jude- I can’t believe you’re four already!! I believe that God will show you some amazing things this year Jude, things you will remember in the years to come and that will set a foundation for your belief in God! I miss you! <3

  • Rebekah says:

    Kim, this is powerful. I’ve also seen that in me! We are to give and give, and give beyond what they ask (or take)! This upside-down Kingdom living sure roots out the sinfulness in my life! BTW, we are headed long-term to Kenya in January. I’ll have to go back through your blog to see how you got to Fiji!

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