The other day someone brought up the discussion of being fortunate. The root of fortunate of course is fortune. I copied this explanation of fortune: fortune is wealth, good luck or what is going to happen. An example of fortune is what someone had after inheriting millions of dollars. An example of fortune is the luck of having oil discovered on an otherwise useless piece of your land.
If anyone was to come across either of these examples of fortune they would certainly be fortunate. However, the use of the term “fortunate” is not reserved for huge fortunes. Everyday use is for much smaller things. But the size of the fortune has no bearing on the significant impact it has.
Several weeks ago Pastor Pete called and asked if we knew of anyone who could use a pair of shoes. Yes we do! Everyday. I was going out to the dry cleaners and called Pastor P and made arrangements to come by and get the shoes. They were a pair of new New Balance sneakers. Very nice. I noticed they were my see size and I began to think of how I could keep them for ME. Just so you should know I quickly dismissed that thought…reluctantly.
My next stop was at a car wash in town. I had received a call that a homeless man was seen sleeping under a covering at the car wash. I stopped at a fast food place and picked up some sausage biscuits, coffee, and orange juice to take with me. Sure enough Tony was asleep on the concrete under a thin blanket.
I rolled my window down and said, “Good morning.” He pulled the blanket off his face and looked at me. We introduced ourselves and I handed him the grub. He was grateful and let me know what a blessing that was. I also had a hoodie left over from a batch we had bought to hand out. Our last one and coincidentally was his size. So I gave that to him as well.
At the foot of his blanket was a pair of rubber mud boots. I asked about them and they were his only shoes. I asked his shoe size he said 10 1/2. Again, coincidentally, that was the size of the New Balance sneakers I had picked up from Pastor P.
We talked for awhile. I go by to see him a couple of times a week. He earns a little money by washing, drying, and cleaning the interior of cars. It’s not much. Certainly not enough to afford shelter.
It’s getting colder and he feels fortunate to have the hoodie and a pair of new comfortable shoes. He feels fortunate that we bring him a couple of bags of food each week. He feels fortunate that several people notice him and check on him.
In a small way, Tony considers shoes, a hoodie, some food and new friends a fortune. These are his treasures.
A fortune is relative to each person’s situation. In coming close to brothers like Tony who cherish each blessing as a fortune shames me for taking for granted all that I have. Scripture points out that we are responsible to share our fortunes. We are stewards of the treasures of those less fortunate. We have been given much so that we can share with the unfortunate. We’re not better than them, especially if we horde our treasures.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-20)
I believe Jesus was clear about how to store Heavenly riches: “35 And here’s why: I was hungry and you fed me,I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,I was homeless and you gave me a room,36 I was shivering and you gave me clothes,I was sick and you stopped to visit,I was in prison and you came to me.’”
(Matthew 25:35-36 | MSG). We store up by giving away.
This should be our investment. This is where our fortune lies. We are fortunate to be trusted with what we have been given in order that we may give. In the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, “it is in giving that we receive.”
Thank you Pastor Pete for sharing a fortune. Thank you for all who share a fortune.
Tony thanks you for his fortune.