Everything is Borrowed
On Friday I was at the fairgrounds with the Cup of Cool Water team getting ready for the Bike Swap. One of our clients had been earning community service by helping out at Cool Water Bikes, so he came along with us. I have talked to this guy about a thousand times and over that span of time, I have really gotten to know him well. He is charismatic and passionate and he also truly values deep discussion and intimate connection with others.
On this occasion, we were chatting about this and that; we talked about bikes, what it might be like to work at the fairgrounds, his life situation, etc. I was feeling particularly exhausted and I remember praying that God would give me the ability to continue to listen. The things this young man was sharing with me were so valuable.
Within the next minute or two, the conversation took a turn and got much deeper, much more personal. He began sharing one of his core values. He said, “Everything is borrowed.” I acknowledged that he said this but continued down the stream of consciousness that we seemed to be in. He stopped me about a minute later and asked me what I thought about what he said. He had mentioned tons of things, so I wasn’t exactly sure what he was referring to. He brought up the concept that “everything is borrowed” again.
We began talking about how there is no value in acquiring and accumulating things because when we die, we don’t take it with us. This young man constantly amazes me. I have known him for 3 and a half years and although he doesn’t consider himself a Christian, much of his personal philosophy reflects the practical parts of the gospel. I knew he wasn’t just blowing smoke. I have witnessed him giving his coat to a person who needed it in winter, just because he knew they needed it and giving his last cigarette to someone who was having a rough day.
He is part of a street family, and they take care of each other. Sometimes this happens to a fault and sometimes there are sad and dangerous things that come along with living this way. I think we as the church could really learn from this. Someone who has almost nothing shows so much generosity.
In the early church, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:44-47)
One very encouraging thing that happened at the end of our conversation was that he said, “thank you for listening to me. I really appreciate it. Will you please make sure to pray for me and talk to the rest of the staff and have them pray for me too?” This was a tremendous blessing for me.