I am calling this article and post, “Did I make a difference?” I guess this question could be asked in many area’s 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 that I have one question for God. That 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 ANYONES 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 life to mold us and make us into the person that we are. God did this with his greatest servants all through out 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 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 MOLDS AND IMPACTS 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 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 to see 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. Left overs are as good as a fresh 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 pocket book, 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 photo’s and video’s of starving people and children in 3rd world countries breaks 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 TOO. There are starving women and children here in America living on the streets and people just walk by as if the 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 hitch hike to work. When I got off from work I would walk home or hitch hike. I had to make sure I got some pop corn or something before I left work. When I got home all left overs 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 churches homecoming day. We had service at the church 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, 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 churches 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 all together, I hate to see this kind of selfish behavior (especially towards children) by Christian adults.
WHAT IS A TRUE FRIEND
The Bible says,Jude 1:22 “And of some have compassion, making a difference:” Compassion and love makes a difference in our lives, at least it should. The love and compassion of Christ has led us to God, through Jesus Sacrifice. There was and is no greater compassion then 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 the 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 name 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 step dad really did not want him. His step dad 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. There 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 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 everyday.
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 needs for the needs of everyone else. I know that she does not eat all the time, in order to make sure her grand children 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 on family. One day, her family will finally realize, the great woman they had for a mother and grandmother, and her 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 makes 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 year, she and her family. She has fought life’s battles all her life. Losing her mother at age 13, being forced to quit school. Being married off at 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 wheel chair for 15 years. With all of the severe problems, challenges and heart ache, 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 everyday, 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.
If you have read this far then I want to say thank you and I will try and explain why I wrote this article. First, I did not write this article for sympathy, nor for the sympathy of my friends. There are millions who endure and struggle in this life everyday. Many suffer more than we ever have. I am not a special person, but I know my friends are. Much of what they have and are experiencing I have not faced. I think anyone can relate to some of what I have written.
Maybe you have not been through what we have or maybe you have been through worse. We are all human and subject to pain and sorrow. I started this article by stating that I wanted to ask God, “DID I MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ANYONE’S LIFE?” Here is a little piece of truth that too many miss. “GOD ALWAYS WORKS IN YOU, BEFORE HE WORKS THROUGH YOU.” Let that sink deep into your soul. How can you share with someone what you have never experienced or seen? That would be like trying to explain a beautiful sunset, to a blind person who has never had sight.
Sometimes we as Christians forget things about God and how he works. 1. God knows the end from the beginning. 2. God knows what we can handle and what we cannot handle. 3. God has worked in our lives when we were not even aware of it. 4. God’s molding and transforming us, may take an entire life time.
Romans 8:29 says, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” We are not only conformed to be like Jesus, but we are “transformed in the process.” When Jesus came to earth, he was loved and accepted by all. He never had a problem, His life was nothing but total joy, he was never hungry, he got along perfectly with everyone. NOW YOU KNOW THAT IS NOT TRUE. Jesus life was sacrificial and unpleasant. He suffered pain, heartache, betrayal and so much more then we ever will. Jesus understood, lived and accepted Grief.
Christ made the difference in our lives, He was and is our supreme example. We should be doing the same for others. As the Bible says, Jude 1:20-25 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”
The Bible tells us, Hebrews 4:15 (KJV) “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” You see, being transformed into the image of Christ is a PROCESS. It is not INSTANT. Your salvation is instant when you receive Christ, but your Sanctification (making you more like Jesus) takes place over time. I have never seen a new born baby instantly become an adult. It is a growth process.
This life does not come with any guarantee or warranty of no pain, heartache, suffering or death. THE NEXT LIFE DOES IF YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN. I used food and hunger as an example through out this article. I used it because it is a MAJOR PHYSICAL HUMAN NEED. FOOD AND HUNGER ARE A MAJOR “SPIRITUAL” HUMAN NEED ALSO. Matthew 5:6 (KJV) “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” God’s Word is our Spiritual Food. We have the Holy Spirit of God living inside of us to lead us and guide us. He transforms us and makes us more like Jesus. God has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Romans 8:18 (KJV) “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” All Christians suffer. Some suffer more than others, or in different ways. Paul says here, our suffering in the end will be nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. I can only ask, Did I make a difference in anyone’s life because of Christ. In essence Christ makes the difference, not me. Jesus said, John 15:5 (KJV) “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” I simply hope I am used of Him. The song listed below says it all for me. It is not a Christian song, but it tells me about the difference Jesus has made in my life.
Your thoughts and opinions are welcome so leave them below in comments. Ray