Through a friend who is a social worker, my wife Cathy and I had the opportunity to help a woman and her children with some household goods. A series of bad decisions and a life hampered by psychological issues had left the mother and her children homeless.
She made the decision to let her children be put in foster care while she got back on her feet. Four months later she was in an three bedroom apartment with a couch, beds for her and her children and not much else.
Through the generosity of friends, neighbors, and a few good deals at the Goodwill store we were able to furnish her apartment with lamps (the family room was not lit), a family room chair, small entertainment center, dressers, and a few other items.
The son John, (not his real name), received one of the dressers. With the help of a friend we took it into his bare room that had a bed, a few toys, and piles of clothes on the floor. He directed us where to put it and was happy to have something for his clothes. 
My friend David (his real name) and I returned to the family room only to be called back to the room by John a few minutes later. He was curious about the keyhole in the drawers of the dressers, wondering if we had the key for it. "No", I replied, "there is no key for it." 
John also noticed there was no knob on one side of the middle drawer. "Do you have a knob for this?"
Again, my answer was "No, sorry." David and I showed him how to pull out the right side, put his fingers under the left, and then pull the drawer out all the way. 
"I will try and find you a knob," I said as we left that evening.
We retuned the next week with a few more items and I had a knob. It didn't match, not even close. I went to screw it on only to be frustrated by the fact that the hole was too big for the screw head-I would tighten the knob, but it would pull the screw through and fall out. I needed a washer for the screw, but did not have one.
We returned once more and I had a washer.  I asked him if he had the knob and he quickly found it. "Do you have the screw I asked?"
As he looked on his floor that had matchbox cars and more toys scattered all around, I was afraid there was no way he would find it. I looked under his bed and noticed that his bed frame, instead of being held in place by wood planks, was supported by a pair of aluminum crutches.
But after a few minutes, amazingly enough the screw was found and I was finally able to put the misfit knob into place. "Thanks", said John, grateful that the middle drawer would now pull out with relative ease.
As I thought about John and his drawer during the past two weeks I struggled with what I should do.  Does John deserve more than a used dresser with a mismatched knob?
Dear reader, if you’re still with me, I am a Christian, I have been given eternal life and infinite blessings through Christ’s death on the the cross for me.  I was far poorer spiritually than John and his family are physically.  I have been redeemed and renewed.
This is the section where I should provide some answers I suppose, but I don't have any. Only questions.  Have I truly served the poor?  Have I treated John and his family as I would want to be treated?  Have I truly sacrificed for them?  
I leave them, and drive home to my nice house with relatively new furniture and all the comforts.  My knobs match.  My drawers pull out with ease.  My bed is properly supported.    
In his book Generous Justice, Tim Keller, commenting on Deuteronomy 15:4-5 writes:
The poor man was not to be given merely a token "handout".  Rather, credit and help were to be extended until he was completely out of poverty.  The generosity extended to the poor could not be cut off until the poor person's need was gone and until he reached a level of self-sufficiency.
I write this not to boast, or to instill guilt.  I realize I can never match the gift I have been given.  But, it's worth the struggle to ponder these things.  I need to reflect on my life, my time, and my wallet.  I do know the gift and the blessings I have received need to be shared more.   
Dear Lord, I am a broken dresser with a missing knob, be merciful to me.  
 


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