Today my friend Randall Goodgame told me a beautiful story that he heard from a woman who had served in an African orphanage on a short-term mission trip. One morning she was assigned the job of making sandwiches for the orphans’ lunch. She began the task just as you or I would: she started counting out the bread to figure out how many sandwiches she could make. She turned to the ten- or eleven-year old boy–a resident of the orphanage–who was helping in the kitchen. “How many children are we feeding?” she asked.
The boy looked at her, then looked at the bread she was counting out. “Don’t count the bread,” he said.
“But I have to count it out,” she said. “I have to be sure there’s enough for everybody.”
“We don’t count the bread here,” the boy said. “We just make the sandwiches. Then we share what we have.”
It seems such a small thing, counting out the bread slices or not counting them, but there’s a whole worldview in that choice.
This story reminds me of a friend’s experience just last week. Her post on Facebook:
Through the sound of the steady beating rain drops, I was sure I could hear a chainsaw. When I went outside to investigate, I saw him there in his bright yellow slicker. My friend Anthony from Uganda. He was removing the old trees in our yard that were on our very long list of “things we would hopefully be able to get to someday”. When I asked why, he said, “I knew you wanted these down, and I knew an old couple that needed fire wood for heat. The two seemed to go together. These are the ways of a village.”