Tuesday, January 30, 2007

gotta run!

There is a strange and wonderful universe where Neverland and The Matrix collide. It is not in the physical world, but it is a real place nonetheless. Look at me talking about this place as if it were ethereal and far away; it’s right here, of course! Today, I am casually enjoying a stroll in this special place, the Blogosphere. Here, it’s a beautiful day; it almost always is.

Looking up, I see a familiar face in the distance. It’s Al! He’s the author of The Suburban Christian. Great book! Normally, he has a rather urgent gait, but now, what would you call it? Meandering? No, it’s like he’s preoccupied, looking for something.

Then, in the next half-a-second, he sees me, and I get ready to do the nod. You know, when you say, “tsup.” But wait! His demeanor has changed. I think he found what he was looking for, and he’s got a determined look on his face right now, and his picked up the pace. He’s coming this way! Is he gonna try to sell me something? Gotta dodge him!

No “tsup” for you, my friend! I pretend I didn’t see him. I gotta get outta here! I’m afraid he’s gonna ask me to do something. Hmmm… it’s probably a skit where they make me wear something goofy and laugh at me. How do I shake him off? Man, I wish I wasn’t wearing these loud clothes! I zig, then I zag, but he’s still with me. Rats! What could he possibly want from me? It could be one of those catalogs where you buy something that you never need… like that apple peeler, corer, etc. Forget it, man! Looking over my shoulder, I notice that he’s smiling. He thinks this is some sort of game! I don’t think he’s getting tired either!

Okay, next year, I’m doing diet and exercise for my new year’s resolution. I can’t believe… (whew) how winded I’m getting. He’s closing the gap!

Is that a dollar he has in his hands? Yes! He’s holding money. Well, maybe I dropped it and he’s giving it back. Hah! Who am I kidding—I never carry cash, except fifty cents for the coffee machine… I couldn’t have dropped the cash. Maybe he wants to give me the cash. But why would he do that? Whoaaa, it’s not a dollar, it’s a $100 bill!!!


Oh man, my lungs hurt from running! Look at him—still smiling! Hey Al... ‘tsup? (still gasping)

Oh that! The hundred dollars wasn’t for me, it was to remind me about the hundred dollar project he did on his blog. An object lesson… great. Tagged?!! I shoulda kept running. Okay, if I had $100 to invest in God’s Kingdom, and hopefully multiply it, how would I do it?

(between breaths) Lemme... catch my... breath. Then I’ll think about it. Hey Al, call 911 if I go into cardiac arrest okay? (Geez, he’s not even wearing gymshoes!)


L.L. Barkat said...

Wow, Craver. very creative way to broach the $100 question. What would YOU do with the $100?

Craver Vii said...

I’m thinkin’, I’m thinkin’! Ummm, let’s see; I’m not big on hands-on investing. But if you take one person with you to a Cubs game, it will end up costing more than $100 (by the time you figure out tickets, gas, parking, hot dogs, etc.) Still, there are some places where $100 can be stretched quite a bit.

If I had $100, I could put it in my church’s benevolence offering. The benevolence offering might not multiply it, but in the grand scheme of things, God doesn’t need my money, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, so maybe it’s good to give a little bit (through the church) at the right time to someone who has a special need.

That’s not in keeping with the spirit of this thing, though… And if you stop to consider the parable of the talents…

Al Hsu said...

Run, Craver, run! (Oh, wait, that's Forrest Gump.) Appreciate you running this race, running with perseverance the race set before us, pressing on toward the goal, casting off all that hinders . . . hmmm, there are a lot of running metaphors in Scripture. And just imagine that third servant heading for the hills when he realizes that the master's returning to call him to account.

I'm still comin' after you, Craver! You better do something with that $100!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Craver, give it to Mrs. Craver and let her figure it out!!

Craver Vii said...

Good point, For now… Mrs. Craver has always done so much better than me at stretching the dollar. I don’t think Al would let me get away with doing that, but I might end up doing it anyway. Sort of… I should explain.

The Food Pantry at my church is able to make purchases that really stretch each penny! People can come in, out of the cold, and get a bunch of free food and nice clothes. They can take a load off, and sit in the “social room” with me and have hot chocolate and pastries. In that room, I learn how to pray for each person who shares, and some have even come to faith in Christ right there, after hearing the gospel proclaimed. It’s handy that I’m bilingual. Others have heard the good news and received a Bible if they wanted, but maybe God will draw them to Himself at another time. It’s all good!

Yeah, I think that’s what I’d do with $100. Then, I would just continue with the work I’m already doing at the pantry. Stocking shelves with Mrs. Craver on Wednesdays, meeting and greeting our guests on Thursdays, and recruiting churchmates to help in this work the rest of the week.

It’s a ministry that stretches the dollar, feeding the hungry, clothing the um, nobody actually arrives naked, but I think you catch my drift. We also link people with other ministries as we see the need.

There are two outstanding ladies, codirectors who take care of the myriad of administrative details. One of these two ladies is the lovely Mrs. Craver.

Anyone else want to comment on how you might invest $100?

Llama Momma said...

Not sure how to spend the $100, but the hot chocolate and pastries sound really nice! What time did you say social hour was? :-)

Seriously. I do think putting the money into an already functioning ministry is a good plan. It sounds like the food pantry is just such a place, as is the CPC.

Is this $100 hypothetical or real?

Pete Juvinall said...

I think I said this on Dave's blog, but for me I would use it in discipleship by meeting with someone @ Starbucks (or in my case TC Buzz which blows Starbucks away) and prop for them coffee. I figure I'd be able to get around 13 weekly meetings out of it if I payed for both.

Anonymous said...

I like what you've come up with Craver. I agree with LM -- my tendency might be to do something flashy with $100, but why not put it in a place where the Lord is already at work.

Al Hsu said...

Craver - I love your church's example of providing not just for the physical needs, but also having a context and environment for relational connections and ministry. That's such a great model of incarnating the gospel, of both demonstration and proclamation, word and deed going together.

Anonymous said...

Nice writing, Craver! I love your churches approach too.

And please pardon the aside: Hey Pete, nice new pic!!

Anonymous said...

Craver you and your family are a blessing to the church and the food pantry. I agree that the money would be well spent there. Nothing wrong with filling a local need.

Shammickite said...

Shelter for the homeless?
Food bank donation?
Adopt an African AIDS orphan?
Knit a blanket for the hospice?
Lots of choice there.

Even So... said...

Give it to me...the $100 that is...

Craver Vii said...

Even so… good instinct! (Romans 2:13, James 1:22-24) What good is it for us to hear the parable of the talents, except that we find a way to APPLY the lesson? Jesus didn’t say the parable so that people say “hmmm…” nod their heads and walk away.

As I said before, I generally don’t do tags, but I WILL issue this challenge to any who will take up the yoke:

Ask God if He would let you put it to practice. He might surprise you with an unexpected $100. Don’t pocket it. Invest it into His kingdom. Check out Al’s blog for ideas or visit www.kingdomassignment.com.

It would be especially cool to hear from someone who has actually done it.

BTW, Al did not give me $100, but who knows whether God will? He might, you know.

Pete Juvinall said...

Hey Stacey - thanks :). It was take apart hard drives day at the workplace. Why? Just because we could. :)