Curiosity stirred as I drove past the little cardboard box alongside the roadside. The regular route  to town was the same as ever. The small hill, a curve or two, the neighbor’s cows, a fence line along the way were all in order as they were the day before and the day before that. Not much had changed in the landscape. Seasonally the changes were notable, but this particular day, there was something more.

As I drove up the hill, there alongside the road, smack dab at the end of a gravel driveway at the top of the hill was a little cardboard box.

Careening my neck to see the trappings within was done carefully so as not to cross the center line. No sign to be had, no person beside it, just a box all by itself stood in wait.

As a child, I remember a game show on TV where the host of the show would display a small replica of a house. The house would be majestically walked down the aisle and parked within reach of one person who had been chosen from the audience. You see, there was a surprise inside. The chosen one would then try to guess what was within it according to the hints given. If correct, they won a prize.

As a child, I would watch the show daily in hopes the person would win. I wanted so badly for the person to get it right, I could hardly stand it! To see someone get their hopes up, only to have them dashed….well…in my mind, it was a cruelty. The disappointment after much anticipation was just too much for the likes of me.

As I drove by the little cardboard box, I utilized my skills learned long ago and began to deduce what might be in the box beside the roadside. As it was at the top of the hill, it was a bit too precarious to stop and peek. As there was no “free” sign nearby, I didn’t really think it was any of my business. Yet, my interest piqued. Secretly, I wondered if they had left lunch for the neighbors passing by. As this is Amish country, perhaps there as a secret code and the cardboard box signaled something I knew nothing of as buggies drove on by.

One day, as my husband and I were together and the cardboard box was still sitting upon the roadside of life, I verbalized my curiosity.

His response was swift and sure. “Oh, it’s extra produce from their garden for others to take as they drive by.”

“How do you know that?” I fired back as a comeback.

“You can see the produce in it when you drive by!” And just like that the mystery was solved.

Disgruntled he knew so quickly, I was reminded just as quickly that he drove a pick-up and could see things from a different vantage point than I in my lower-lying vehicle.

The discovery of what was within made a mark. Kind community was created by the likes of one small cardboard box alongside the road. Being thoughtful enough to consider others made the mark. Offering the likes of what you have to the stranger was like entertaining angels unaware. But, in this case, I think the angels were those who were offering their offerings.

Suddenly, the neighborhood seemed to connect home-to-home all because of one little cardboard box alongside the roadside.  

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers ...” Hebrews 13:2.

“Truly I tell you the truth, whatever you do for the least of these my brothers and sisters, you do it to Me” (Matt. 25:40).

This leads me to one of my favorites. “Much will be expected to whom much is given. Less will be expected to whom less is given” (Luke 12:48).

Amazing it is when His Word comes to life.  Some days we are the least of these, and other days we give to the least…in so many ways…in so many different ways.  Amen.

Kathleen Kjolhaug lives on the family homestead outside of Clearbrook with her husband Pete. She enjoys writing about family life and brings humor into the sacred moments of everyday living.

Theology in the Trenches appears in several local newspapers throughout Minnesota. Kathleen can be reached by e-mail at wemenews@gvtel.com.

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