After they ran out of those, CARE packages were put together from other
necessities provided by donations and varied according to the disaster they were relieving. Today that phrase “care package” has entered the language as anything sent to a person in any sort of need from anyone who loves them.
I sent them regularly to my two sons while they were in college, and
those usually contained a supply of cookies, brownies, and other homemade
treats, as well as a check or gift card. When Lucas moved to the panhandle, his care package contained all those things he might need the night before the moving van arrived with his belongings--paper plates and cups, plastic forks, toothpaste, toilet paper, bath soap, water bottles, plastic trash bags, and sandwich makings, along with the by now requisite cookies.
My church family and I had opportunity to send some packages to our
brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe who are having a difficult time just finding
the necessities of life. When the women I study with every Tuesday morning asked the church for some monetary help, we were flooded with so much we were able to send more than just food, so we asked these people what they might need.
They did not ask for anything fancy, just staples like beans, rice, and
powdered milk. They did not ask for new clothes, just needles and thread to sew up the torn gray garments they are already wearing, and safety pins to replace missing buttons. They asked for laundry soap bars—powder doesn’t work down at the river where you beat your clothes on the rocks. They asked for water purification tablets because they are becoming ill, and some even dying, from drinking the plainest liquid on earth. They asked if we “might possibly” send some Tylenol to help ease aches and pains and fever, as if they were asking for a luxury. They asked for a little Vaseline to soothe lips dried in the ongoing drought. They never even mentioned money.
I was so amazed at these attitudes that I started wondering what I might
ask for in a care package, what my list of “life’s necessities” might look
like. Once I asked some teenagers, Christian teenagers mind you, and was horrified by the list I got. It included a cell phone! I think it is a safe bet that any American reading this should not ask for anything material at all. We have
far more than we actually need to simply survive, certainly more than these poor brothers and sisters overseas.
But what should I ask for in my care package? Probably all of us have the same needs: more love and compassion for others, more patience, more endurance during trials, more self-control during temptations, more knowledge of God’s word, more wisdom to make the decisions of everyday living, more gratitude for what He has sacrificed for me, more faith in His power and promises, more belief in the forgiveness and hope He has offered, and far more grace to cover my continuing failings.
The thing is, we already have that care package, we just sometimes forget to open it.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith -- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Eph 3:15-21.