Catholics and other Christians celebrate All Saints Day November 1, and in preparation for that, the featured book on Days of Deepening Friendship is Thrift Store Saints: Meeting Jesus 25¢ at a Time by Jane Knuth. You’ll see my video interview with Jane any day now. Jane has worked at a St. Vincent DePaul thrift store for a number of years, and this book is a collection of her stories—about the people she works with, the people they serve, and her own growth as a down-to-earth Christian. We’ll post some of these chapters, to give you a taste. The stories are so well-written, and they speak truth so clearly and joyfully, you will love Jane and the thrift store folks immediately.
Thrifts Store Saints reminds us of how joyful it is to experience down-to-earth Christianity, to do what we can on a given day to recognize Jesus in others and to love those people, one small gesture at a time. Even though these stories are about serving people who are poor and struggling in various ways, you won’t get depressed or overwhelmed by the reading. In fact, the primary response we’re getting from readers is joy and encouragement. Jane shows us that we don’t have to solve the world’s problems in order to love others in a Jesus kind of way. We simply show up and do what we can—and leave both resources and results to God.
I don’t know about you, but I grew up feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. As a Christian I thought it was my job to fix people and solve all their problems. Their happiness depended on my faithfulness. There’s not space enough here to detail how we come up with such an attitude, but I suspect you may understand what I’m talking about. By imposing our own ideas of what is good, what is enough, and what is holy, we add to and change what Jesus has already said. We heap burdens upon ourselves that make us wary of doing anything at all. If I can’t do it all, then maybe I’ll just watch TV instead. Jesus kept saying, “Please, show up. See me in every person. Provide a meal, or clothes, or a kind word. My father’s power works through such simple acts of love.”
So read the chapters we’ve posted, and be encouraged. If you are unable to see the chapters below, click here.