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A Thousand Gifts From A House

My father-in-law, Doug passed away on September 1 of last year.  He left behind two houses, no will, no trust, tax returns undone.  I think that’s a good description:  undone. 

I can’t really blame him.  Our funeral director described it pretty well—“Poor guy, he just couldn’t seem to catch up.”  There’s a lot more to this story, but I can tell you the succeeding weeks after his death were filled with lots of hours at those two houses.  We had lots of cleaning to do, and lots of trash to take out.

But we had lots of gifts to make.  The first house was two hours away from our own home.  It was actually his parents’ home, and he’d moved there originally to take care of his ailing mother.  The house was brimming with two generations of stuff. 

That stuff included some really nice coats, hats, suits, shoes, kitchen gear and furniture.  We found a local thrift shop run by a local church working to help the poor in their community.  We were so encouraged to take our treasures there.  It was gratifying to hear them say, “Most people never bring us stuff this nice.”

I’m encouraged to think that our gifts of stuff mean that a family who can’t afford much will wear some nice clothes, have some dressy shoes and maybe even a stylish hat.  I like the idea that our kitchen table that we could have sold means that some international students will gather around a table of fellowship.  Our coffee table, with a lamp, is a place to read, and to lean back in a recliner. 

I realize, of course, that those families making the rounds at the thrift shop may not realize where those gifts came from.  They may just see it as a form of cheap shopping.  But that’s really okay.

Those houses, for us, represented a chance to make a thousand gifts.  How often I need a fresh perspective of my stuff!  I need to see it not as something to be accumulated, or something to get rid of, but instead, as an opportunity to bless others.

I think I’m going to start on my own house with a fresh eye on “stuff” that might bless others.

–William High is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Christian Foundation.  He likes giving away his stuff to bless others.  He may be reached at whigh@nationalchristian.com.

About Bill High

Bill High is an author of several books and co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously: www.givingitallawaybook.com. You can find him at www.billhigh.com and sign up for his blogs there.

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