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A Good Measure

A kindness in the laundry room brings scripture to life.

A gift of detergent returned in equal measure. Photo by Neil Kendall, Thinkstock

I went down to the laundry room today with two huge IKEA bags full of dirty darks. As I stepped off of the elevator into the basement, a young mother emerged looking harried, with a crying toddler and a preschooler in tow.

An older man–I guessed her father–was picking up goldfish crackers that had scattered all over the floor.

Seeing me, the mother said, abashed, “I ran out of detergent and have to go out to get some. Here, let me empty some of the washers so you can get started.” She turned around to head back into the laundry, frazzled, as her dad cajoled her little girls into the elevator.

A gift of detergent is returned in equal measure. Photo by Neil Kendall, Thinkstock“Don’t be silly,” I told her, “I can wait half an hour to use the machines. And you can use my detergent.” I have vivid memories of the stress of trying to make life work with little ones, even though my youngest is now ten. A few cupfuls of soap is a small price to pay to make someone else’s life easier.

She looked at me hopefully, half relieved and half embarrassed. I reassured her, “Really–it’s no big deal. Just use it.” I put my bags down and handed her the detergent bottle.

Thirty minutes later I returned just as she was emptying her clothes from the washer. She explained that her sister is getting married this weekend, so she’s anticipating a houseful of guests and was trying to get chores out of the way today.

“Thank you so much for the detergent!” she exclaimed, “It was the gesture as much as anything else.”

I was happy to be able to help. “Oh,” she added, “When I went out to buy more detergent, I got some for you, too. It’s in your bag.”

“You didn’t need to do that!” I exclaimed. And then I laughed. For I thought of Luke 6:38: Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

It’s true. Even with detergent.

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