Stop sitting and get busy!!
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. Proverbs 10:4(NIV)
Should we wait and listen for God, or anyone, to tell us what to do? I have worked for many people and I have found the best way to respond to direction is to constantly push forward on as little, or as much, information that you can gather. If you wait to serve others or God until you have 100% clear direction, I believe that you will spend more time waiting than doing. This proverb speaks to the fact that lazy hands do not bring on wealth.
Are you poor? Are you using your gifts to serve God? Are you proactively seeking while living out your faith?Do You Believe? Questions, Share, Email, Facebook
I woke up to this in the news this morning: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/business/help-wanted-ads-exclude-the-long-term-jobless.html?_r=1&
Apparently there are a lot of people just like me out there who are struggling just to survive, and while having a lot of time on their hands, are anything but lazy. The accompanying comment thread in the forum that I visit which had posted the Times link had a rather bleak picture of where most people are at this point, with the real unemployment figures being a lot worse than what is currently being stated, because people who used up their benefits and still can’t find work aren’t still counted in the unemployment numbers.
So what are all of these people doing? Most of them are a bit further behind me on the Kubler-Ross “Stages of Grief” path. Many are being crippled by mind-numbing depression (been there, done that.) It’s what happens when despite doing everything right, you still fail and fall flat on your face. For strong, independent people, intelligent people, and generally anyone who had goals and plans for moving forward in life, this has been the ultimate brick wall. Laziness in life had nothing to do with the failure, contrary to what some politically minded morons would have us believe. Laziness in life didn’t get us to this point of material poverty, circumstances beyond our control did. I can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Natural disasters can cause social collapse just as well as bad economic or political leadership. Wars can ruin lives forever, and there are a LOT of wars going on around the world right now. Are the innocent victims caught in the crossfire between political rivals or empirical nations to blame? No.
So that covers physical poverty. What about spiritual poverty? IS that what the author was really getting at? How do we spend our days and time when the chips are down and we can’t work because there is no work to be had? Good question. It would be a dangerous thing to ask some of the unemployed if they are where they are now because maybe God was trying to get their attention, but could that be true? When the wealthiest nation on earth is about to be brought to its knees financially, could it be possible that maybe starting the days out on our knees is where we really should have been all along?
If I were a gambling man, I’d bet good money that a lot of people will claim to bless God when times are good, but will curse God when the chips are down and the hand folds.
Job 1:21 – “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the YHWH gave, and the YHWH hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
How many people will react to their sudden poverty this way? How many will sing the modern hymn “Blessed Be The Name Of The LORD” through their tears and sorrow? Right now I hear a lot of others cursing, and that number is sure to grow.
So what does this unemployed man do? I help where I can, when I am really needed within my talents. I don’t mean to boast, but here’s an example of what can be done. It’s the little things: I was in the grocery store a few weeks ago picking up a hand full of essentials on a very limited budget. It’s hard to go into a store with a list and only be able to get maybe a 1/3 of what is on it, living by need from day to day. But there are many people who are far worse off than myself. I was looking at some bouillon cubes on the soup aisle (they make Cilantro flavored bouillon now! totally awesome for Chicken Tortilla Soup!) and there was a lady in a motor cart trying to see something on the top shelf. I helped her reach the cans near the top, and we struck up a conversation. She was very talkative, and clearly very lonely. She’s my parents’ age, recently divorced, living alone on disability, had one kidney left and the other one was failing, while fighting pancreatic cancer. (Prognosis– fixin’ ta die.) She had a tale of woe that rivaled anything I had heard in a while, but she asked for nothing but a sympathetic ear, and a tall arm. She didn’t emphasize it, but in her diatribe about how hard it was to get by on medicare and disability, and all of her problems with the bureaucracy, she had briefly mentioned that she always fell $10 short on her bills every month, and that was what she needed for food.
The conversation took many twists and turns, but she wasn’t looking for handouts or soliciting, she just needed to talk. That alone was probably helpful, but that tidbit she threw out there stuck in my head.
I had been struggling to manage the bills for months, and was walking a tightrope myself; I could feel her pain, although clearly she was in a lot more trouble than I am. I had a friend come down to visit me earlier that week, and as a parting gift he insisted on cramming $100 into my hand and wouldn’t accept “no”. I figured, who am I to have this, and this lady has nothing? When I cashed out at the register, I did my transaction for $10 over, hunted down the lady and found her over at the pharmacy, and shook her hand with the bill concealed in it. “Here, it think you dropped this” I said. She stared at me with baffled eyes and replied “NO I did not!” I retorted, “Nope, sorry you did! Can’t catch me!” and I ran off before she could protest further.
No matter how bad things are, no matter where we are at, we can serve at some level financially or with our time. My Dad recently retired from a long 40+ year career as a Master Service Technician, and as a recent retiree, he likes to work on the endless projects list of things that need to be done around the home. But that isn’t his focus. He’s a member of a shrinking and struggling Southern Baptist assembly that has seen better days, and he volunteers his engineering skills to help them with everything from swapping out their expensive light bulbs with the new florescent low-wattage tubes, to painting, to general repairs and other things that normally would have cost them money. I have seen him be retardedly generous with his own money when he may have needed it more, and he has constantly done things for people when he thought no one else was looking. Opportunity finds him, and he answers. He has taken a homeless man into his own home; admittedly this made me nervous at first, but the man has been honest and doing his best to find work when and however he can get it, and he asked for nothing but a couch to sleep on in return. How many of us would do that for a complete stranger? Dad’s Bosnian neighbor is a Serbian Muslim. He isn’t a very good Muslim, but he is one of the most generous men I have ever met, and will literally give you shoes if he thinks you need them. He constantly showers my Dad with help and gifts, not because he thinks it pleases Allah, but because he wants to be a good and loving neighbor. He took time out of his busy work schedule to tile my Dad’s entire kitchen and living room floors for free, because he hated the carpet and linoleum, and wanted Dad to have better! How many of us would do that?
I don’t know how else to serve in my down time. I often do computer jobs on the side for money, but I have been told that I under-value my services. Sometimes I do even give ‘freebies’, if I think that it’s better just to help the person in a situation of need. it hasn’t done much to advance my “business”, but I think that it’s doing the right thing. I can’t do much, but I do what I can. In-between submitting résumés that never get read, tending my struggling crops, and trying to be a good home-maker while my poor wife struggles to work to pay the bills because I can’t, I give what I know.
I wouldn’t know what to ask anyone else to give. How does an unemployed banker or lawyer or stock broker help someone? How does an emotional train wreck step up to the plate to serve God when all they want to do is crawl into a fetal ball and cry for weeks at a time? I have seen many like myself who after being laid off or fired for unjust reasons just… break down. How do we ask anything of them? If anything, those who have fallen upon the rocks need us more than they need to be giving. I worry a lot about how many of my friends will cope with money troubles and mortgages when they too are downsized, as they are having a hard enough time coping with life now as it is.
I’m sorry if this rant was longer than usual, but the plight of the unemployed is close to my heart, and soon I fear it will affect more people in this nation than ever before in Her history; the house of cards is about to collapse, and the elephant in the room that everyone has been ignoring is about to go feral and charge wildly about… panic is about the only thing we will be able to expect, and when we are all equal with nothing, what will we give then but time, since that will be all that we have left?
It’s a lot to think about