Clean, Dry, Towels
By DiAne Gates –
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations” (KJV Psalm 100:4-5).
Roberto joined our Vacation Bible School In The Park in Houston, Texas. This tall and lanky sixth grader’s enormous dark chocolate eyes spilled over with sadness that made him appear older than his twelve years. But Roberto was the first to arrive each day for VBS.
Now, summertime in Texas arrives the day after Easter, so by the time school was out and Bible School began the temps were scorching by 10 AM. Add humidity to the equation and it was a recipe for wring-and-droop. What I would have given for a clean towel to mop the sweat that dripped from every pore.
The week progressed and I learned this young man was a budding artist. He had five brothers and sisters. Their family lived in an apartment complex and shared a bathroom with two other families. Paper, paint, and brushes for Robert were not on this family’s shopping list.
The last day of Bible School we had a picnic for the children, complete with food, games, and gifts. Roberto’s gift was paper, paints, brushes, and socks—three pair of athletic socks. Those sad brown eyes turned into sparkles when he exclaimed “thank you” over and over again. Would any of our children be exuberant over a small sack of inexpensive gifts like those? Probably not. Hugs were shared and we boarded the bus back to our church in the suburbs.
I arrived home hot and grimy. The first thing on the agenda? A bath. Filling the tub to the top, I slid into the refreshing water and Roberto’s family—sharing a bathroom with more than fifteen people—flashed through my mind. Face to face with his reality made an indelible mark on my heart.
A tornado had ripped across town the week before and many of those folks were displaced from their homes—no personal soak time for them either—and no clean, dry, towels.
I pulled a fluffy towel from the rack, inhaled the scent of fabric softener, and was ashamed of my ingratitude. Like those lepers Jesus healed who forgot to say thank you, I never thought to say thank you for my bathroom, the water, or the clean, dry, towels.
Surrounded by a mountain of provisions from my Lord God and I failed to thank Him for running water, a pantry filled with food, plates to eat on, a car to drive, grass to run through, flowers to enjoy, family, friends—the list of blessings goes on and on. For goodness sake, a washing machine to do the laundry. The majority of people all over this earth lack these conveniences. God has blessed my family beyond measure and I haven’t even thought to thank Him. How about you?
I learned from Roberto never to complain when I must wait for anyone to vacate a bathroom. And I’m now grateful to fold a load of laundry—anytime—‘specially those clean, dry, towels.
Father, please teach me to be still before You each day. To remember to thank You for each and every provision you give to me, even the simple, small ones that I take for granted. Everything comes from You. You are the giver of every good gift.