Me: Hi, I’m Jan.
Stranger: Hi, I’m Adolf. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
Me: So what do you do? (Don’t you hate it when we are pegged re: work?)
Adolf: I’m a venture capitalist. I find places to put my money. (Yes, he really said this.)
Me: What a coincidence. I am trying to find money for a new venture. (I had recently been elected to the Board of a new 501c3 at my church.)
Adolf: What’s the venture?
Me: We’ve started a computer lab to teach homeless people basic computer skills so they can get employment.
Me: While serving dinner recently at a local shelter, we realized that many of the residents are very bright. They just don’t have the basic skills to run a computerized cash register or work in an office. We have several corporate donors giving us hardware and software. We need financial contributions too, though. Are you interested?
Adolf: Excuse me. (He took his glass and a spoon and clinked them together to get the attention of everyone in the room. And then he said this:)
Adolf: My new friend here – Jan – has proposed an interesting idea that I’d like to share.
Me: (in my head: Oh my gosh, this is great! He’s going to challenge the room to donate to our new amazing project to teach homeless people computer skills.)
Adolf: Get this. She is hoping to raise money to teach computer skills to homeless people.
A brief moment of silence ensued. And then . . . . laughter.
They laughed at me and then went about their business talking about plastic surgery and winter vacations and such. After catching my proverbial breath, I realized that I live on a totally different planet from those folks.
[Important note: I feel like a jerk sharing this story because it makes me look like I am full of holiness and selflessness - or it makes me look self-righteous and obnoxious. Believe me, I am as fake as Adolf.]
For a better example, read this. Please read every word.
As Christmas comes once again, it’s important to remember that – even as fellow earthlings – we live on different planets. Some of our children will be inundated with gifts beyond the wildest dreams of a child like Dasani. A December to Remember ostensibly means this to a few but to most of the world, having family and friends is most memorable. And then to others – on a different planet from our own experience – having healthy parents and basic clothing and shelter is most memorable.
At that party long ago, I was asked, “Why would you do that? Why would you want to teach homeless people computer skills?”
We live on different planets. How can we come together and partner to make the world look like the planet Jesus describes here:
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)