Two weeks ago in IPWG I wrote “If we believe we know the right thing to do – let’s do it.” Well, I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
During the last two weeks I have had hours to think about what I am doing.
Costs: Days of work, hundreds of dollars, and relationship capital. Support continues to be needed. And I have decided this is OK.
Thoughts: The Good Samaritan would not have been needed if the rescued person was not in great need – unable to help himself. And the Good Samaritan would have been cruel if he had bandaged the man and left him where he was. Not only did he transport him to a safe place, but then continued caring for him through hiring someone else to do so. Luke 10:30-36
The Good Samaritan was on a rocky, hot, isolated road. I know, I have walked a short section of it. He was likely going somewhere for some specific purpose. He had other things to accomplish; probably involving other people. There is no hint the Samaritan was traveling with others – which means that when he stopped, he too was a prime target to be beaten and robbed. The fact is, the Samaritan had money, though we do not know how much. We do know that the Samaritan could not call 911 on his cell phone, or call to say why he would be a day late.
Reality: In a small town, on a side street between a dollar store and deli/pizza place – just down from the laundromat and across the street from the car wash is a bakery, with a small, black and gold, almost unreadable sign above its door. It is quiet inside: black carpet, slightly textured walls painted a deep rose color. There are three large display units, one refrigerated. The pastry chef comes in at 3:00 AM to prepare everything he sells, and he works the counter when a customer comes in. At 2:00 PM the part time help arrives. On Sunday he works 4 hours, and is closed Mondays. 60 hr per wk, 52 weeks a year.
The pastries he makes are beautiful and delicious! Exactly what we order for dessert in top quality restaurants – Napoleons, chocolate covered cheese cake, apple/raspberry strudel, an incredible dark chocolate mousse …. His pastries are so good, several people drive 45 minutes down the mountain from Windham, where he previously worked, to buy his pastries. He creates and decorates cakes: roses or chains of flowers or large chocolate shavings. He makes typical 8” cakes or very large, multi-tiered wedding cakes. He has been mastering his craft for about 30 years, dreaming of opening his own shop for a long, long time.
My wife, Sally Jo, is an excellent baker, so I have only been a customer when I wanted to bring a surprise – like when visiting the man who was recovering from his 5th hip operation, or our grandsons when we visit them in “The Woods”. It is fun to arrive with several different pastries, nicely boxed. When I have stopped by, I have noticed the bakery is never busy, and we talk.
Recently I asked “….., how are you doing?” After a long pause, with tears in his eyes he said “Not good”. His eyes sank to the floor. As I asked a few questions, his situation spilled out. He had learned that he owned money to the IRS for worker’s comp he did not know he should have been paying. With interest and penalties, thousands of dollars. He was 3 months behind on his rent. The phone and electric companies were threatening to disconnect him. For three months a retired business man has been coming in every morning at 5:00 to learn to make pastries. Recently, the pastry chef had opened up to the business man. He was not surprised, and volunteered to take over the business side.
“Chuck, things are tense at home – my wife does not have enough money to pay the bills, and our home is tied to the loan I used to open the business. I just don’t have enough customers!!!” Can I get you a new sign? “Sure, but I have no money!” Can a mailing be prepared and sent to each of the 1956 addresses in the town? “Sure Chuck, but I have NO money.” Is it OK to fill a notebook with pictures of your cakes? How about a table and chairs so you can sell coffee and tea, and provide a place for “walk in” people to enjoy their fresh pastries? Could the name be changed from _______’s Bakery to ______’s Pastry Shop? “It would probably be a good idea.”
Result: Others agreed to help: the lumber yard, a sign painter, and a photographer. Color copies were made at cost, and a lift truck with two men was provided to replace the old sign with a 4’ X 16’ bright, beautiful sign. A very nice table and chairs are on semi-permanent loan. The notebook of cake pictures is on the table. The mailer goes out tomorrow. The work is done!!!!!
I told the owner/chef “This is a cup of cold water given to you in Jesus name.” Mt 10:42 Tears flow – and I have joy in my heart.
Will what has been done be enough to save the dream, the business, and the house, or have limited resources been wasted?
Who knows? I do know that what has been done is pleasing to the Lord. He got me into this. We are in partnership.