Friday, May 29, 2015

The Signs of Service

The colander sits above my refrigerator. Occasionally, I hear a faint rattle when the cooling unit kicks into high gear. This is because the misshapen metal makes the bottom of the colander uneven. I don't mind the noise; in fact, I find it often brings a smile to my face, like the voice of a familiar friend. The colander was a gift, but that is not why I have a fondness for the careworn, homely piece of metal. Rather, the beauty of this piece lies in its past.

Others would see the colander and immediately wonder why I keep the piece of junk, sitting on my refrigerator, even if it does hold my bags of potato chips and supports boxes of cereal. They don't know that only a few years ago, the colander was shiny and new. It was made for service and came, quite naturally, to sit atop the shelves in the Mission's kitchen, surrounded by pots and pans.

Many a time, I'd stroll into the kitchen with my camera, ready to capture the diligent efforts of our kitchen staff as they prepared meals for a 100 or more guests. Into the colander would go gorgeous ripe tomatoes for the salad bar, lettuce for Ron's famous BLT soup, ground beef for spaghetti. A small part to play, maybe, but the colander was fulfilling its purpose. It was created for the sole and simple task of straining items. Along the way, it was banged against the sink or dinged in the dishwasher. And along the way, a mother and her hungry child were fed. A man, hopeless and hungry, received more than physical food. Thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of meals, all at no charge to those who were hungry...homeless...hopeless...

The days, months, years passed, and the colander stayed at the ready, doing its job, and being a part of something truly magnificent. Until, no longer shiny and definitely not new, it was time for a new colander, to sit on those high metal shelves, to take a place beside the pots and pans.

And as for the old colander, my colander, it was a gift from the food service manager, who knew but didn't quite understand my fascination with the kitchen tool. For me, that piece of banged up metal is a tremendous representation of the legacy we can leave simply by doing the task placed before us. We all have been created for a purpose, and while it might seem small and unimportant, what a magnificent impact we can have, just by being ourselves, what we were created to be.

To me, that is the legacy of the Mission and all who support it. The Mission, too, was created for a purpose, founded to meet physical and, most importantly, spiritual needs. As long as we stay true to that purpose, amazing things will be accomplished, not because the Mission is great but because our Creator is.

So when the refrigerator fan hiccups to a start and I hear the rattle of that colander dancing atop the refrigerator, I smile in gratitude for the role God has given me and the impact I too can make in His service.

- City Rescue Mission Communications Manager