labeling cans of corn

The project site I am working at for the first two days of our mission trip is the Emergency Foodshelf Network.  They distribute food to about 70 area foodshelfs and help to channel donations from organizations and larger corporations.  Including cans… without labels.

Part of our job yesterday was to begin making a dent in the 18,000 cans of corn that were donated without labels.  They sit on large palletes, all shiny and shrink-wrapped, just waiting for a generic corn label to be affixed.  And so we have been cutting paper labels, adding two pieces of tape, and then moving them into boxes of 30 for distribution. 

But there is this nagging question in the back of my head… how do we really know its corn?  How can you officially tell? 

You have to open it!

You have to ruin the product to ensure that it is what it actually is.

Now, of course this comes from a manufacturer and it is all the same and grouped together and not just some random cans tossed into a donation bin. 

But there is still a level of hope and faith required in order to trust that in these cans there really is corn.

We can shake them and they kind of sound like kernels of corn – but really you just have to trust.  You have to affix the labels and trust.

In so many ways our faith is like that.

We depend on the stories that others have told us and we can choose to believe and to trust or not.  We can choose to fix our own label on the blank can that was passed to us and bless others with it, or we can refuse to label it, dig in with our doubts, and open up the can.

I love questions.  I love people who doubt – because they push me to dig deeper in my faith and help me to grow.  And hopefully they are also growing in their faith. 

But at the end of the day, we have a choice:  to believe something we can’t see… or not. 

I have found that when I believe, when I make that choice, and when I share that faith…. both myself and others are blessed in the process. 

That’s why I keep believing that cans of corn without labels really have corn in them. And that God exists and came to us in Jesus Christ and that we have been saved though we don’t deserve it and can be renewed through the gracious power of God in the Holy Spirit. 

Sometimes I want to rip open that can and double check… I do… but today, I keep taping on labels and sharing the blessings with others.

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