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  • Pastor Ralph

By the Roadside

I think one of the impacts of the pandemic is that people are re-organizing and cleaning out their homes. One sign of this is the amount of furniture and items that people are putting out by the road to take as free in our neighbourhood. One person’s discards are another person’s treasures! In reality, it looks like a lot of good stuff is being discarded. I remember the first kitchen table we used for years; I got it from the Thurlow dump. I cleaned it up and put a new pine top on it and it worked wonderfully for years. It is still in use in someone else’s household. (LOL) As I reflected on this the other day, it came to me that during this pandemic, many have found delight in new ways, through simple treasures that each day present us.


I read this the other day…”A group of elderly, cultured gentlemen met often to exchange wisdom and drink tea. Each host tried to find the finest and most costly varieties, to create exotic blends that would arouse the admiration of his guests. When the most venerable and respected of the group entertained, he served his tea with unprecedented ceremony, measuring the leaves from a golden box. The assembled epicures praised this exquisite tea. The host smiled and said, "The tea you have found so delightful is the same tea our peasants drink. I hope it will be a reminder to all that the good things in life are not necessarily the rarest or the most costly. “


The Bible says, “This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 KJV). In this pandemic, each day presents us with some new and interesting challenges. But, it also presents us, like the roadside treasures, with some simple delights and gems in a spiritual sense that we can “rejoice and be glad in.” Solomon, in his wisdom, reminds us, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT). We are in a season like we have never experienced before - but in spite of its challenges (and I don’t mean to underplay those challenges), we can find treasures God has for us in the simple dynamics of life: the roadside stuff so to speak.


I recently read about a man in Brazil by the name of Orismar de Souza. Orismar was a homeless man who decided to build a car using junk, spare parts and a hammer and chisel. Four years later, the "shrimp mobile" has him back on his feet. Souza, 35, had to panhandle in the Brazilian city of São José de Piranha and go hungry for four months in order to raise the initial $270 he needed for sheet metal, which he cut into shape using a borrowed hammer and chisel. He scrounged a 125cc motorcycle engine, and gathered other junked parts from all over the region.


By December, Souza was able to replace the motorcycle engine’s kick starter with a car ignition, and add in a gearbox with reverse. The mostly Fiat shrimp mobile can reach 50 mph on the highway, and Souza has been able to use it to find a home and a job in the local sugarcane fields. This is ingenuity at its highest form – good for de Souza.


I am not sure we are going to transform things by the roadside like Orismar but certainly God gives us new things, each day, that can transform us as we seek to serve Him. Take the time to celebrate those simple things the Lord presents us with. In them, we will find lasting JOY.


God bless you. Keep in His love

– Pastor Ralph




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