By Scott W. Rosekrans
In October for the past two years, we’ve declared the month “Socktober” month, where I encourage my congregation to bring me their holy socks, not their socks with holes in them. I ask them to think of things that get cold like feet, hands, necks, and heads and what would make them warm. I suggest that they go to their coat closet and look for those extra gloves, scarves, and hats they no longer wear, but someone else would gladly like. New is great, but gently worn is fine. That said, there is nothing like the feeling of putting on a brand-new pair of socks.
Socktober is a small short-term mission where we hope to collect a couple of hundred pairs of socks to distribute to a few of the non-profits we support who can get them to those who could use them. It’s a great bonding experience, and I make a big deal every Sunday morning over what shows up on the pulpit, and it’s a lot less messy than burnt offerings.
In any event, through these mini-missions, we’ve managed to develop an excellent working relationship with one of our local food banks (we have four in the county). We recently got a call from the manager of the Quilcene Food Bank advising that she had gotten a phone call from the Boeing Blue Bills saying they had some Bomba socks and wondered if she might be interested. She knew she had no place to store the socks, and distributing food is challenging enough, but she knew who could.
She called us on a Sunday night and said they were picking up a shipment of a lot of socks and asked if we could come to get them on Monday morning. Sure, I think that’s in my calendar right after putting the trash can out on Monday morning. So off I went to the food bank to pick up the socks. Eleven good-sized boxes containing 2,750 pairs of new Bomba socks. (Every pastor should be required to have a pick-up truck for such occasions.)
Two of the other food banks heard of our windfall and asked for some socks. So, on Tuesday, we distributed over 400 pairs of socks between three food banks with a promise to bring more each week as we determine what other agencies in our county could use the socks.
Ironically, I had already planned to preach a sermon on the Feeding of the 5000 before this happened, what a great story. So great, it appears in all four gospels as the Twelve were all eyewitnesses to what God can do if you put your faith and reliance on Him.
The disciples hadn’t planned on well over 5,000 men, women, and children flocking to hear Jesus teach and heal and probably only had enough food for themselves. They saw their only option was to turn the people away to fend for themselves. That’s not what Followers of the Way do, as Jesus was soon to demonstrate. Through God, what was needed was provided, and all the disciples had to do was distribute it.
If Jesus had come to me and said, “I’ve got a couple of thousand people in your county that need socks, and I want you to see to it,” my response would have been similar to that of the disciples. “We’re a small church and that many socks would run well over $15,000! Maybe we should send them to Goodwill.” So, Jesus said, “Hold my coffee; watch this.”
As Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” We need to become more aware of what’s going on in our communities and look to the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction. We need to be people who find solutions to problems and not problems with solutions.
If we genuinely try to show our love to our neighbor by actually seeing to their needs, their daily bread, the Holy Spirit will step in and take us in directions we could never have imagined in our small and limited human way of thinking. Jesus wants us to get in there and give it our best effort, and, when we least expect it, a miracle happens.
I can’t wait until February which we designate as “Underweary” month.
Scott Rosekrans serves as pastor to the people of Community United Methodist Church in Port Hadlock, Washington.