He Lost it All, and…

I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you. A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use. That’s how it is with us. There are many of us, but we each are part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another.

God has also given each of us different gifts to use. If we can prophesy, we should do it according to the amount of faith we have. If we can serve others, we should serve. If we can teach, we should teach. If we can encourage others, we should encourage them. If we can give, we should be generous. If we are leaders, we should do our best. If we are good to others, we should do it cheerfully (Romans 12:3-8, Contemporary English Version).

Magazine columnist Tim Denning, because of the uncertain times we are in, made the decision to call everyone in his phone. He expected to find his friends sitting at home relaxing with the unexpected days off. But when he called a lifelong friend, Denning did not get what he expected. The conversation went something like this:

“How are you doing?”

“I’ve had my fair share of tears this week. I lost my entire business after a 15-minute speech.”

It was not a speech made by Denning’s friend. The friend lived and had his business in Australia. The 15-minute speech actually was made by the Prime Minister, issuing what we are now all to familiar with, a “stay-home order.”

The friend was in the hospitality business. The Prime Minister directed all restaurants and bars to close. When the time came and the government lifted the order, they could reopen.

The problem was, by Australian law, if the businesses remained in business, they would have to pay rent on their facilities. If they closed their doors and went out of business, the rent expenses went away too. Denning’s friend had bookings for the next three month. Over the next hour and a half the friend got call after call canceling their order and informing him they were out of business. At the end of that hour and a half, he was left with nothing. Much as we have heard over the last couple of weeks, Denning’s friend understood the reason for the order but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt.

Denning asked his friend what he was doing about it. He knew there was little he could do about finding another job just as such efforts here, are pretty useless at the moment.

The friend started doing other things, like taking long walks. He said because he was in no hurry he started noticing things he never noticed before. Things like rocks on the bank of a pond and the ripples on the water on one side of the pond.”

The friend, along with his daughters started building a garden in the backyard. He wanted a place to grow herbs and vegetables. The garden was a place to watch things to come to life.

He started thinking about people like his own employees. He knew he didn’t have the money for all his employees.

Denning’s friend realized he needed to calm himself and stay that way. He started limiting the amount of news he was watching. His daughters started getting time in their relationship that had never happened before. It wasn’t long before the girls started becoming central in their lives. He said it was impossible to find a reason to stay angry when he was with the two of them.

In today’s lesson Paul is saying, “It isn’t about us.” He is right. It is about how we serve God and serve the world. Service and love are traits we all too often fail to demonstrate. We are here to serve one another, to love one another. Paul says to make yourself a sacrifice for your neighbor.

Denning said he was always amazed at his friend’s ability to place himself behind everyone else. But he also was learning, without his friend really saying anything, that joy and fulfillment came when you exercised your ability make life better for someone else. Then Denning wrote down a few things Denning had never thought about but realized were true.

He always leaves you feeling better than he found you.
He makes you smile.
He tells you the good parts of life.
He is fearlessly loyal.
He builds human connections, not business connections.
My favorite: he calls you for no reason at all.

People love working with him and he always lives by one rule:

Doing the right thing is always the right thing.

It’s not what you lose when hard times come. Hard times come for everyone at some point; it’s who you become when things are uncertain and difficult.

Have a blessed,

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J Keith Broyles, All Rights Are Reserved

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