It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon. This morning, we went to church and then enjoyed lunch at a local restaurant with our family. I really should be doing some of my college homework right now, but I just had to write and share with you what happened in our community last night. As most of my long-time blog readers know, I love the community we live in. I am so proud to get to live in such a beautiful place with such wonderful people. Last night, was a shining example of why I love the folks in our area. So, if you have a few minutes, settle in, and follow me to a little church out in the country.
The gravel crunched under our tires as we turned out onto the paved road that leads to one of the little churches in our community. As we neared the church, we could see that the parking lot was absolutely packed with cars and trucks. People were even parking along the roadside and in the yard of a neighboring house. Joey found a place to park our truck and we started to walk up to the church.
Outside of the church, kids were playing basketball and swinging on the swings. Grown-ups stood in large groups visiting. You could hear laughter ringing out across the churchyard as stories were shared. Shouts of greeting were being yelled to old friends as more folks joined the crowd. There was an air of happiness and excitement that just seemed contagious!
You might be wondering what in the world was going on at this little church? Was it a regular church service? A missionary guest speaker? A famous evangelist? Nope, nope, and nope…The focus of all this attention was one very special family. This family is much loved in our community and they have been having a tough time with medical problems. Around here, when we know of a family that needs a helping hand, everyone pitches in. The agenda for tonight was a barbecue benefit to raise money for this family.
We edged our way into the kitchen to join a long line of folks that were waiting for a barbecue dinner plate. A local man, who makes mouth-watering barbecue, had volunteered his services to cook the meat. You could smell the tantalizing smell of the smoked meat from the very back of the line. Mmmm!!!!! As we neared the front, everyone put their donation for the dinner into a large jar. We went through the serving line and came out with plates loaded with barbecue sandwiches, potato salad, chips, beans, coleslaw, homemade cake, and iced tea. Tables were set up outside and everyone sat around and visited, laughed, and ate their fill of the good food.
After the dinner was over, the real fun began. Ladies (and probably some men!) had baked their best desserts. Local businesses and people had sent gift baskets, gift certificates, and special items. Kids had donated gently used bicycles and toys. What was all this for? Why, the auction, of course! There were so many folks there that the auction had to be held outside. We all pulled up our folding chairs and settled back to watch the fun!
The auctioneers sold everything with a smiles and funny jokes that kept the crowd laughing and having a good time. Deserts were highly sought after and many were sold for upwards of $50.00 each! One very special desert even sold for over $100.00! When a bid went especially high, the crowd would clap and whistle for the bidders. Everyone laughed as husbands and wives competed against each other, driving the bid up, to get their favorite items.
The kids played, the grown-ups kicked back in their chairs, and the auction was a resounding success.
Late in the evening, as dusk began to fall, I sat in my chair feeling the breeze blow across my face. As I listened to the auctioneer’s patter, and I looked around at all the familiar faces around me, I felt so richly and mightily blessed to be able to be a part of this night. I am so thankful to be a part of a community that shows Jesus’s love to others. As far as I know, there was not one single person at the auction that would be considered “rich” by worldly standards, but by my standards, everyone there was a millionaire. The Bible tells us it is more blessed to give than to receive. I know in my heart that all of us there fully felt this last night as we raised money to help a family through a hard time in their lives.
I had to smile as I remembered that everything comes full circle. It hasn’t been so long ago that the husband in that family was on his hands and knees, nailing down decking on our house that we were rebuilding after our other home was burned to the ground. It touched my heart to remember that moment. This time, it was our turn to give back. Next time, it might be our turn again, or maybe someone else’s…You never know what life will have in store. One thing I know for sure is that whatever life holds, I am grateful that it will happen in this blessed place, with these wonderful people, that make up the area I call home.