This week we celebrate World Communion Sunday. Christians around the world remember that when we take the Lord’s Supper on this particular Sabbath day we do so as a global community of faith. Regardless of how far away or in what language we use our liturgy that Jesus spoke to those disciples on Maundy Thursday binds us together as Disciples of Christ Jesus. In honor of our ties with Christians around the world I want to share a story my friend once told me that related the wisdom of those who are of “humble means.”
A decade and a half ago an earthquake in Pakistan damaged the country’s waste water and sewage treatment plants. Pakistan engaged several international companies to repair the damage and hired a respected project supervisor to work with local people. Mammoth trucks transported the new equipment, some of which contained components larger than an average sized home. Oversized sheets of cardboard and wood protected the components during shipping.
The project supervisor hired local laborers to uncrate the huge equipment as it arrived on the jobsite. The supervisor, via an interpreter, struck a deal with the laborers. He allowed them to sell the leftover crate material to local people for temporary housing. The project supervisor had done this previously in other countries while doing similar work. Someone estimated that in about three years he profited roughly one year’s salary by selling the cardboard and crate waste.
In retrospect, the project supervisor became a good steward of material that might have otherwise been lost to “the trash heap” or burned. But because he was a good steward, he provided for people who had nothing and made a profit by helping others. As Jesus himself said to the slave who wisely invested, Jesus might have said to this project supervisor as well, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things” (Matthew 25:21).
As those who profess Christ I would like for us to continue to learn from others about how to celebrate and use the gifts God has given us and build a better world for our children and ourselves.