When Katie and I were in Seminary years ago, we were broke. So we did whatever we could to get by. One of the things we did was housesitting for people in town when they were on vacation. What we looked for most was folks who would let us use their washer and dryer while we stayed there. The washer and dryer in our apartment building used a lot of quarters for a small load of laundry.
So we placed ourselves on the list at the Seminary of people willing to house sit. We stayed at some very nice places and people were, very generous - Then there was Mrs. Taylor.
I’ll never forget Mrs. Taylor. She sounded just like Julia Child. It was amazing. At that time in downtown Princeton, people usually paid 20 - 40 dollars a day for a person to house sit. Mrs. Taylor offered, 2 dollars a day, I negotiated her up to 5 dollars a day - and we could use the washer and dryer.
When Mrs. Taylor called us up to housesit, all she wanted to know was the origin of our last names and who we were related to. She said she would get back to us. She called the next day saying that she had checked our family background and would like to have us come by her house to see if we would like the job. I thought that was a bit odd.
Now she didn’t have any pets, so I thought taking care of the house would be easy, boy was I wrong. Mrs. Taylor had about 200 plants, and each plant had very specific instructions on how to care for it. She wanted some plants moved from one side of the house to the other side of the house at a specific time of day, and then moved back again. She wanted about 100 of the plants moved outside at 8 in the morning, then back in at noon, and back out again at 4 in the afternoon and finally back in again at 7 in the evening. Some of these plants were very large. It would take considerable time to do what she wanted.
AND she insisted that we water all the plants with this tiny watering can that held about a pint on water. She said in her Julia Child voice, "Carefully lift the leaves of the plant, pour the water, lift and pour, lift and pour."
It was a nightmare. But, using her washer and dryer would save us a great deal of money so we agreed.
Now, while Katie and I and the plants were in Mrs. Taylor’s house we notice this large black book on the coffee table boldly labeled, "The Princeton Society Directory." So we took a look.
Inside was page after page of names listed in alphabetical order, and then several columns after each name: A cross reference to who you were related to; Your primary residence, your summer house, your beach house, any international houses; The name of your yacht, or two; The name of your yacht club, the name other clubs you belong to; The name of your our university - it went on and on.
Now, I know what you are thinking.Mrs. Taylor checked out our family background, so we must be related to someone in the book! But, alas, a reference to Loughman, or a reference to Katie’s maiden name, Lawson, was nowhere to be found. We were not people of respectable society.
Even so, Jesus Christ has been able to use us for his purposes and whatever your background, Jesus Christ will use you as well.
God uses your past, whatever it is, proud of it or not to prepare you. He takes you for who you are and reverses the direction of your life and makes you in to the person he desire you to be.
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