NOTICE: My articles are NOT grammatically correct. I am a college graduate and understand all the rules of proper writing. I do use CAPITAL LETTERS to stress and emphasize important points. I do this to enhance your UNDERSTANDING. To me, understanding is far more important then proper writing skills.
I am calling this article and post, “Did I make a difference?” I guess this question could be asked in many areas of our life but I want to focus on one special way. I have always loved to laugh, joke and play. I really love to make people laugh. I have told friends for years that when I get to heaven I have one question for God. The question I wanted to ask was this. “God, Why did you make roaches, rats, spiders, and snakes?” Friends would normally laugh and say, yea that is a good question.
There really is a question that I want to ask God, but it is not that one. The real question I want to ask is this one. “LORD, DID I MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE IN ANYONE’S LIFE?’ I think this is the question that will matter the most. I truly hope that I have.
I understand that God uses simple things in our lives to mold us and make us into the person that we are. God did this with his greatest servants throughout the entire Bible. God takes simple basic things and uses them to build character in our lives. It is not always pleasant for us, but we learn lessons that we would not learn any other way. And these lessons stick with us for the rest of our life. I am going to use one example of a basic human need that we all have. “IT IS CALLED FOOD.”
THINGS THAT MOLD AND IMPACT YOUR LIFE
We live in a totally different generation than the one I grew up in. Any older person can verify this. Many of my generation do not even recognize this so-called progressive, politically correct, liberal society. Hunger has never left this world, and never will. I am ashamed at the indifference the world shows to starving countries. I grew up very poor and we were called trash. I lived through real starvation, with no food. We might eat half a sandwich one day and then not eat again for a week or 10 days. I live this way for many years and I learned many lessons from it. I hear people say, “I am starving” when they have not eaten in 8 hours. No, they are not starving and do not understand the real concept of starvation. What bothers me the most is seeing a hungry child. I could never sit and eat in front of a hungry child. I will tell anyone, “Never, hurt a child. Jesus said, Luke 17:2 “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”
Things that molded into my life are, you never waste food. You always clean your plate. You always appreciate and are thankful for what you have. Leftovers are as good as a freshly cooked meal. And children always come before adults, when it comes to hunger. Neither do you ever forget those who had compassion and supplied when your need was the greatest? I will give an example. God used others and these situations to teach me what is really important and most valuable.
In 1955 I was in school and of course, we had lunch in school. There were no social programs to help and no free lunch programs. We went to school hungry and we came home hungry, to no avail. One lunch lady named Mrs. Hogg worked there “occasionally”. Lunch was a quarter/25 cents. That was a lot of money in 1955 and I did not eat lunch all the time. She would sit and hold a large shoe box, as you come by you put in your quarter, then proceed to the lunch counter to get your food. When I got to her, I had my hand closed and would twirl my wrist around then slap it down in the shoe box and say, “There it is” pointing to a quarter. She would say, “Yea, I see it, go eat.” I would move on up to the lunch counter and look back. I would see her get into her pocketbook, take out money, and put it in the shoe box. I HAD NOT FOOLED HER, SHE KNEW I DID NOT HAVE MONEY FOR LUNCH. But every time she would say, “Yea, I see it.” Many of the kids made fun of her because of her name, but I never could, God sent her as an angel for a poor boy like me. She taught me compassion for others and sharing. The Bible says, 1 John 3:17 “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
The photos and videos of starving people and children in 3rd world countries break my heart. What is worse is the fact that nations do not care, do not help, and let them starve and die. THEY COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF THEY WANTED TO. There are starving women and children here in America living on the streets and people just walk by as if they do not exist. I keep saying, “People do what they want to do, and people do what is important to them.” I have actually heard people say, “Well, that is way over there and it is not here.” Dear God, Please never let me lose love and compassion for others who are suffering.
When I was in high school I managed to get a job. I would go to school, come home, walk a mile up the hill to my house, change clothes, walk a mile back to the highway, then walk or hitchhike to work. When I got off from work I would walk home or hitchhike. I had to make sure I got some popcorn or something before I left work. When I got home all leftovers from supper was always thrown out to the dog. I learned a work ethic quickly if you wanted to eat. At least I was working and making a little money, so I could afford lunch at school.
Here is an example of someone who showed NO CHARACTER in their life. You see, in my opinion, “You either have CHARACTER or you are one.” As stated before, I have always had a real problem with a hungry child, and I still do to this day. I am still thankful to God for how it affects me and shows me my need to help. We were in church and it was the church’s homecoming day. We had service at the church and then went up on the hill to the fellowship hall for dinner. We had a bus ministry and brought many children to church. While the main service was going on in the sanctuary, the children’s church was in another building. Because the children rode the buses and they had to be home at a certain time, we let them eat early so we could bus them back home. Morning church service is over and here are grown adults running up the hill to be the first ones in line to eat.
One of the church’s deacons said, “I hate this, they let those little snotty nose bus kids eat first. I am sure they ate all of the best food, while we were still having church services.” NEEDLESS TO SAY, I REALLY WANTED TO GO OFF ON HIS HEAD. I have seen grown adults, Christians, who literally pushed children out of the way (in the food line) just to move up. I have seen adults load up 2 or 3 different plates, never eat half of it, then throw it away, then run back and load up 2 plates of dessert they never eat. They act like PIGS AND GLUTTONS. If you looked at their belly hanging out 1 foot over their belt, you could tell they had never missed one meal in their life. ( I know, I am a bad person for saying that). I quit going to homecomings altogether, I hate to see this kind of selfish behavior (especially towards children) by Christian adults.
WHAT IS A TRUE FRIEND
The Bible says in Jude 1:22 “And of some have compassion, making a difference:” Compassion and love make a difference in our lives, at least it should. The love and compassion of Christ have led us to God, through Jesus’s Sacrifice. There was and is no greater compassion than Jesus on the cross suffering for us. His compassion put us in a new family, saved us from sin, eternal death, hell, and the grave, and made a difference.
When I was 30 years old, my dad taught me a valuable lesson. I did not totally understand it then, but I do now. He said, “Son, in your life, you will have a lot of acquaintances, but at the end of your life, you will be able to count YOUR TRUE FRIENDS, on one hand! I am older now and my dad was correct. Here is my definition of a true friend. A real true friend is someone who knows all about you. They know the good, the bad, and the ugly–And it does not matter to them. They still accept you and love you. They will still be there for you!
I have 3 real and true friends, 1 male and 2 females. My male friend is named Randy. We have been friends for 52 years of our life, and we are still close. God shaped and molded Randy’s life just like mine. Randy had a very hard life. He was not wanted to a certain degree and was abused and starved also. He was in about 11 different foster homes and was not wanted there. He was on the streets for a while. He finally was allowed by his mother to come and stay with her. His new stepdad really did not want him. His stepdad would take the food, label it, and put his name on it. Randy was not allowed to touch anything that had his step dads name on it. Randy learned a lot about being wanted, accepted, and cared for. Growing up together, Randy and I were not always good boys, but we had each other and bonded. Randy learned everything I did and they were not easy lessons. Today Randy is a dedicated Christian and he is by far, THE BEST MAN I KNOW. Randy is a Giver, not a taker. The hard lessons he learned, molded him into the man he is today. I love and respect Randy more than any other man that I know. God has made a real difference in his life. Many of the lessons in Randy’s life were very painful, but they have never been forgotten, Randy chose to use them for the better. You see, life’s lessons will make you “BITTER OR BETTER”, it is your choice.
I have 2 female friends. Their names are Fedelina and Debbie. These 2 women have always been a real blessing to me. They are both the same age and have never met. They live a very long distance from each other. I am always amazed at how much they are alike, and I love and respect both of them dearly. You see they have experienced all of the same things I have been telling you about. The hard life, the abuse, the rejection by family, starvation, and all of the lessons God teaches through this. Both are dedicated Christians and struggle against all odds every day.
Fedelina is a dedicated Christian and loves, Bible Study, church, and singing. She has 4 kids and 4 grandchildren. She struggles with the problems of trying to run a family business and feed everyone. She sacrifices herself, her wants, and her needs for the needs of everyone else. I know that she does not eat all the time, in order to make sure her grandchildren have enough food. I know that she is not valued for the person that she really is. But, I also know that God values her and loves her. She faces hardships and problems that we have never dreamed of facing. Fedelina has faced abuse, despair, and even hopelessness, yet she keeps on going and serving Christ. She is one of the most compassionate people I have ever known. I think she does not realize the impact that she has had on her own family. One day, her family will finally realize, the great woman they had for a mother and grandmother, and the sacrifices she has made. She may not have much here on earth, but I know she will have great rewards in heaven. I value her fellowship and prayers very much. The lessons she has learned in this life have been very painful, just like others I have talked about how it has molded her and made her the person that she is. God has worked in her life and still is. Her hope and faith are in the Lord. I am so proud of Fedelina, she has come a long way in the faith, and I am honored to call her my TRUE FRIEND AND SISTER IN CHRIST.
Debbie is a friend of 40 years, she and her family. She has fought life’s battles all her life. Losing her mother at age 13, and being forced to quit school. Being married off at the age to 14 by her father who did not want her. Her life has been a horror story from the beginning. She deals now with a terminally ill, disabled husband who is confined to a hospital bed, while she herself has been confined in a wheelchair for 15 years. With all of the severe problems, challenges, and heartache, she still has a deep, strong faith in God. Debbie faces one battle after another (just like Fedelina ) and it never ends. She does not eat every day, she has to make sure her husband has food to eat. With all the problems in her life, I have wondered how she even has a mind left. But I know it is God that sustains her. I admire and respect her walk with God. I also know it is God’s grace that keeps her going and makes her the person that she is. I have seen over the many years how she has grown spiritually, and the work God has done in her life.
I value the prayers of Debbie and Fedelina more than anyone on earth. Neither of these women thinks there is anything special about them, but I know better and so does God. I see the change in both their lives even though they may not see it, or realize it. They are what real and true friends are all about.
This Post Has 2 Comments
Great article Mr. Cunningham!
First, the message is clear and the analogies easily transfer into anyones life who may be reading this.
Second, I’d like to thank you for reminding us what Gods love is, and how we should all take a step back and do a little more for everyone else, thus witnessing via example.
And lastly, you made the comment you’re “not special”…well, I think I understand where you were coming from, but let me just say, I happen to think very highly of you, and (although I’m a bit biased)…I feel privileged to somewhat know the man behind this article.
Thanks again, was a joy to read.
Thank you Chris, for the kind words. If it will help anyone then it is worth it. I am always reminded of Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” This verse has never said that everything that happens in a Christians life is good. It does say that God can take everything, even the worst in our lives, and bring good out of it. Simply put, HE IS THE POTTER, WE ARE THE CLAY. Thanks again.