Monday, January 30, 2012

It Doesn't Take Much

Shouts of joy rang through the house.  I don’t know if I should be happy or sad.  The kids just asked if they could walk to the tienda and buy stuff.  I said sure, and gave them all a boliviano each.  They were running through the house, grabbing their shoes, asking if they could go to the farther tienda, laughing and shouting.  Let me explain a few things.  A boliviano is the equivalent of 14 cents.  A tienda is a small store that someone has placed in their home.  Tiendas are all around Bolivia.  Here are a few photos of them.

 This is their driveway.  They closed it in and it is a store.  You never 'enter' a tienda
you simply ring a bell or shout and then tell them what you want.

This is a small school supply store

I said that I don't know if I should be happy or sad.  Should I be happy, that our children's lives are so uncluttered and simple that a two block walk to spend 14 cents makes them thiink that I am the best dad in the world?  Or should I be sad for the same reason?  I am a little of both.

However, the point of this article is the tienda.  From my dining room table where I am typing this, I can see two tiendas out the window, and I know of three more within three blocks.  Tiendas are a great way for people to make a little extra money.  They are Bolivia's 7-11 or convenience store.  Don't want to take a taxi and go to the supermarket?  No problem, the tienda has bread, milk, toiletries, condiments, drinks, fruit, sometimes meat (which we never buy),  Just send the kids on a fun little trip and you can get your basics covered.  I love tiendas.  I also love the point of them.  Here is a person with a driveway, but with no hope or desire to get a car.  They are either unemployed or underemployed, or a full time mom, or in many cases there are kids at home.  They don't have much, but what they do have, they can use.  So, they save up a little money and brick off the driveway, put a gate on the front of it, and buy some inventory.  Now, they have a store.  Overhead is basically nothing, and the employees are in the house doing whatever they would be doing until the buzzer rings or they hear a shout.  They take a few minutes, and then, iin the case of my family, put 7 bolivianos in the cash drawer, with a profit of about one boliviano.  Then, back to their normal duties.  Entrepenaural, simplistic, and maximizing the litte you have are the point of these tiendas.

I think that this is exactly what God wants us to do.  He doesn't just call the super-gifted, the talented, the wealthy, or the professional to fulfill the great commission.  He doesn't want to limit the joy of service to those who can open spiritual superstores.  All He wants is for us to look at who we are, at what we have, and ask, "How can I reach people for Jesus?"  In my neighborhood, the tienda on the corner isn't trying to beat out Costco in the States.  All they are doing is targeting a couple of blocks with basic goods.  I think that sometimes we look at the superstar mentality in the church and think that God uses "Them", not me.  You are the spiritual tienda in your neighborhood.  What do they need?  Who are they?  What are they struggling with?  You can be the answer to these questions.  All you have to do is be willing to stop what you are doing in order to meet their needs.  Invite them over.  Cookout.  Have a game watching party.  Rent a moonbounce and invite the kids in the neighborhood.  Start a Yak N Snack where women can come over for a couple of hours one night a month and yak and snack.  

What I am saying is this.  You don't have to change THE world.  Just start letting God use you to change YOUR world.  Open up your doors.  Open up your heart.  People need Jesus, so why keep the light of the glorious gospel shut up inside your room darkening shades and behind your curtains?

It doesn't take much to do a lot...just a little love and the willing to step into the lives of other people.


Anonymous said...

REALLY good. Thanks for sharing Pastor Joe!

Leyla said...

This was a really wonderful blog post. Thank you for writing it. It was very encouraging.