Friday, July 6, 2012

One Teaspoon at a Time

Years ago I watched a construction crew dig the foundation of a house. Sitting on my front porch while my children played, I saw the big digger drive up over the curb into the empty lot across the street. The man in the yellow hard hat climbed out of the digger and consulted with other men in hard hats who’d arrived in trucks. After walking around the lot and talking together for a few minutes, the first man climbed back into the digger. The big engine roared to life, and the driver pulled a lever. The huge bucket on his digger reached down and bit its teeth into the earth. As the man pulled more levers, the earth-filled bucket swiveled and dumped its contents into a dump truck. Bite after giant bite of earth filled the waiting dump trucks. The filled dump trucks drove away full and returned empty, ready for more dirt. Within a couple of hours a large rectangular hole, the foundation for a new home, appeared in the empty lot.

 If that foundation had been dug with a teaspoon…it would have taken years, rather than hours to dig it. If dozens of people all wielded their teaspoons, digging the soil and dumping it into the truck, it would still have taken far more than two hours to dig that foundation. As crazy as it sounds, though, a foundation could be dug that way.

I have to admit that my mind sometimes works in strange ways. Last week, when I helped deliver meals to the homeless, I thought about how difficult it would be to survive outdoors in the merciless 100 degree, humid weather. But my mind also skipped ahead a few months, and I wondered, How difficult would it be to survive in the streets during the winter? Can you imagine shivering in an icy wind all day and all night?

I want to do something to help, but there are so many people. We fed 70 and know there are more homeless in our community than that. I want to crochet an afghan, make a fleece blanket, and purchase some good, used winter clothes. But how could I offer an afghan, a blanket, and a coat to a few people while others, shivering nearby, watch?

That’s when I thought about digging a foundation with a teaspoon. I’m only one person, and have neither time nor resources to keep the homeless warm or to get them off the streets. But I have a teaspoon: I can crochet one afghan, I can make one fleece blanket, and I can buy one used coat. This will make a tiny dent in the soil of discomfort for the homeless. But what if many others, all wielding their own teaspoons, joined me in this endeavor? Together, with our tiny teaspoons, we can accomplish much.

I’ve asked others who knit or crochet to make some 8 inch squares. If enough people knit or crochet squares, we can sew them together and create many warm afghans! With our teaspoons, with our small gestures, we can dig a hole big enough to make a difference. Are you ready to dig with your teaspoon?

Proverbs 19:17 “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.”


  1. My son owns a construction company-- so I followed your train of thought very well-- one scoup at a time-- one person at a time-- by one loving heart-- we can make a difference! IN THE NAME OF JESUS -- not in the name of some organization.

    Christ has no hands but our hands
    To do his work today;
    He has no feet but our feet
    To lead men in His way.
    He has no tongue but our tongues
    To tell men how He died;
    He has no help but out help
    To bring them to His side.

    We are the only Bible
    The careless world will read;
    We are the sinner's Gospel,
    We are the scoffer's creed.
    We are the Lord's last message
    Given in deed and word.
    What if the type is crooked?
    What if the print is blurred?

    What if our hands are busy
    with other work than His?
    What if our feet are walking
    Where sin's allurement is?
    What if our tongues are speaking
    Of things His lips would spurn?
    How can we hope to help Him,
    And hasten His return?

    author unknown

  2. Yes, we are doing His work, one spoonful, one "scoup" at a time. I have about 10 crocheters and two quiters joining in this endeavor! I'm so excited thinking about sharing all the warmth when the weather turns cold!

    Thank you for your comment and for sharing your lovely poem!