I used to be more of a glass half-empty kind of person. Ten plus years ago, I lived in a frightful state of negativity most of the time. It had been that way for years, I think, but it was around that time when an old friend from high school found me through email.
It was so good to “reunite” him. He had been in the armed services since we graduated from high school and somewhere along the line, with all life entails, we fell out of touch. We spent most of our first emails “catching up” on each other’s lives. Apparently, my negativity came through to him in what I wrote.
He began to share with me the changes that had taken place in his life, in his heart, as a result of serving our country. There were many atrocities he had witnessed as he served through such times as Desert Storm and the wars in Bosnia. As he shared, he confessed that there was a point when he volunteered for every “suicide” mission that came along, meaning he was willing to take on anything and everything no matter what the outcome might of been. He was so down on life because of some personal experiences and because of all that he saw happening around the world.
Life changed for him one day when he was driving through a war-torn zone and saw a man with tattered clothing picking through the trash to try to find whatever food he could. Suddenly, my friend’s eyes were opened to the blessings in his life. He saw that even in the service he at least has 3 meals a day, clothes to wear, water to drink, and a place to sleep when he returned from a mission. He had his fellow servicemen to walk through each day with him, to share in the ups and downs, to experience the tough stuff together. It was a true reality check for him.
Experiencing all he had shared through his emails to me, I began to look at my life differently as well. God used my friend’s stories to open my eyes to the many blessings in my life. I have a warm bed and clothes to wear, heat in winter and cool in summer, food to set on my table each day, cars to get our family where we need to go, running water to drink and take showers, money to pay our bills, medical care, and most of all, I have friendships and family, a spouse who makes me laugh and takes care of me when I’m sick, and children who need me and who I adore. How rich I am!
My son was quoting some statistics to us last evening. I don’t remember them exactly but any of us could look them up on the internet instantaneously. Some of what he said was that if we have food to eat each day, then we are richer than 85% of the people on this planet, and if we have a home and car, we are more well off than 75% of the people on Earth…..something to that effect. How startling it is to think this is true. Living here in these United States, it is so easy to focus on the rich and famous who have more money than they know what to do with and to think we, the “normal” people, are lowly and worthless. I could go on a rant right now about how the Hollywood and sports elite could support the rest of the world, but I’ll save that for another time. For now, I simply want to say how blessed I am and how I long to do more to help others who are in need. I long to get my focus off of the “extras” that I don’t have and onto how I could share my little with those who need so much.
This time of year is full of great opportunities to help others through Operation Christmas Child, by giving farm animals and clean water through World Vision, by donating to Coats for Kids or Food for the Hungry, or sponsoring a child through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries or Compassion International. I know I always want for our family to go serve some at a local soup kitchen or food/clothing pantry or rescue mission. Whatever we can give, whatever we can do, God will bless exponentially in our lives and in the lives of those whom we serve. Like the old hymn of the church says, “Little is much when God is in it…”
In the harvest field now ripened
There’s a work for all to do;
Hark! the voice of God is calling
To the harvest calling you.
Words & Music: Kittie L. Suffield, 1924
Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown—and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ Name.
In the mad rush of the broad way,
In the hurry and the strife,
Tell of Jesus’ love and mercy,
Give to them the Word of Life.
Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.
Are you laid aside from service,
Body worn from toil and care?
You can still be in the battle,
In the sacred place of prayer.
When the conflict here is ended
And our race on earth is run,
He will say, if we are faithful,
“Welcome home, My child—well done!”