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September 2, 2021

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

September 2, 2021
One of popular places to thrift in the U.S. is the Goodwill store. It’s a good place for interesting finds because well-intended patrons arrive every day at 10:00am at Goodwill locations across the U.S. with truckloads full of cast-off items. But those finds are not always reflective of the kinds of donations they receive.

Goodwill spokesperson Heather Steeves says, “We hope everyone brings great things that help our programs, but we know some people make some questionable judgments about what is good to donate.”

As examples she holds up:
  • A lampshade, which is stained and disgusting and literally falling apart.
  • A small table missing a leg
  • Cracked plastic food-storage containers
  • A used sponge.

She says, “These are a representative sample of the useless stuff dropped off every day.”

Along with simply being disgusting and useless, these items cost Goodwill money. Steeves says, “All this trash adds up to more than $1 million a year in a trash bill, and it's been growing every year for the past five years.”

And that’s just for the 30 stores she oversees.

Goodwill does recycle lots of what it can’t sell. The nonprofit reuses textiles and refurbishes some broken electronics. But last year, it threw away more than 13 million pounds of waste—technically other people’s garbage—and that’s just in its locations in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

One cause of this growing trash problem is a phenomenon called “wish-cycling,” where people are hoping that something is recyclable and therefore they give it to Goodwill. Steeves said, “We have seen comments on our Facebook page recently that are like, ‘If you wouldn’t give it to your judgmental mother-in-law, don’t donate it.’”

I’m reminded of the sad story of a woman who was faithful to give to “help” missionaries by sending them her used tea bags.

When we tithe--when we give to God our time, our talents, our money--it must reflect His giving to us. That means our giving must be costly--sacrificial. As the old hymn text puts it, “We must give of THE BEST to our Master.”

In 2 Samuel 24 King David was building an altar to God. He wanted to purchase a threshing floor owned by a farmer named Araunah. Arauhah offered to GIVE it to his king and David said, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” (vs 24)

When you write that tithe check--when you consider serving in extended session (nursery), or an offer to teach a class, or serve on a committee, remember, God, “…did not spare His only Son but gave Him up for us all.” (Romans 8:32)

Keep the SON in your eyes!
Mark
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