Mario's Smile

I met Mario yesterday at The Blessing Board here in Oakmont where I live.  He was there to pick up furniture for his home.  I was blessed to be there to help him.  The Blessing Board (TBB) is a ministry that provides furniture and household goods to those in need.   My friend Tom Mitlo founded The Blessing Board in his garage eight years ago.  Tom likes to refer to TBB as a furniture bank similar to a food bank.  Nearly twenty families a week back their U-Hauls into the huge warehouse.  I am a part of the team that fills them with donated furniture.   

In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount.  After reading it see if you agree with me that Jesus would approve of The Blessing Board.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.” Matthew 5:1-12

The Sermon on the Mount is understandably one of Jesus’ most well known sermons.  His message was so countercultural that many in His time rejected it outright.  Have things changed much in 2000 years?  I don’t think so.  That doesn’t mean that the “Blessed” are not out there today.

For an hour yesterday I was blessed to spend time with Mario.  I don’t know why he and his family are in their current situation.  All I know is that God blessed Mario in a truly unforgettable way yesterday.  My job with is to escort clients around TBB showroom as they choose their furniture.  When Mario sat in his “new” recliner for the first time his smile melted my heart.  He couldn’t thank us enough as he drove off with a truck full of furniture. 

When Mario woke up yesterday he had nothing in the way of furnishings for his home.  Last night he and his young children slept on their new beds.  This story is only partially about Mario.   When we read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount we need to recognize that the blessed one in this story is my friend Tom.  He gave up a lucrative business to be merciful to those in need.  Tom will tell you that he did so out of obedience to God’s call on his life.  You and I are called to live the Sermon on the Mount as Tom does.   

What’s stopping you?

If you’d like to learn more about The Blessing Board or to donate, click here to visit their website:

If you live locally and want to get involved call 412-828-1055; or if you would like to donate furniture call 412-828-1023.