Friday, January 29, 2016

It Starts at Home

It Starts at Home
Last week a friend called and was relating to me an event that occurred at her place of work. She reminded me through her experience that we must be very prayerful and sensitive to those around me. I’d like to share her account with you.

I went in to work and as always, hugged one of the co-workers. What I experienced shook my world. You see, it was very cold outside and when I wrapped my arms around my friend, she was just as cold as the temperature outside. I have known all along this lady struggles to make ends meet, but is very faithful to come to work, to the point of taking the bus everyday.

I asked her if she had a coat, and embarrassed she responded, “no.” I took off my coat and gave it to her and felt a deep pain because I knew at home I had more than one coat in my closet, and here was a lady without one, in this cold weather.

It didn’t end there, as I walked around the corner I noticed the big box we’d set up earlier in the month! It wasn’t just any box, it was a box labeled and designed to collect coats for the needy. There were already several in the box, and for that I was grateful, but I was shaken by the fact, a lady I work with 5 days a week, 8-10 hours a day, is in need of the very thing we are collecting for others. How could I have missed this? 

Her story is not uncommon. I think we have good intentions, but often overlook what is right in front of us. Collecting coats or toys or food is an awesome thing, but if we are overlooking the people in our circle, have we not missed a beat? It is easy to assume that people have provisions if they are working, but I am a witness that sometimes this just isn’t the case. Sometimes there are needs that do not have top priority because we have to keep the electric running, or food on the table. 

We are in the winter season, and in most places it is very cold. I dare say many reading this today have more than one coat in your closet. I challenge you today to pray and ask God to reveal, first if there is someone in your circle that is in need, and then if your circle of friends and family are provided for, then ask Him to show you who else might be in need. 

Please understand there is a fine line of balance here! I am talking to those who have more than one proverbial coat in the closet. If you have food on your table, and more than enough clothes to keep you warm, and you go out of your way to give to others who come collecting for the needy, but you have family members or friends (including brothers in sisters that you sit by every Sunday) that are hungry and cold, then you need to take inventory! 

I know people who barely get by and they give everything they have—unselfishly—to those in need around them without concern of being recognized for their good deeds! That’s CHARITY! That’s LOVE! Still there are others who could give up a coat for a friend! You could invite someone to dinner, throwing in an extra box of macaroni and cheese cost little. There have been times when I had very little, as well as my neighbor, but we combined our ‘little’ and came up with a great dinner!

After talking with my friend, I’ve taken inventory. From all appearances I don’t have much. I live simply, but you know what I found? 5 coats in my closet (I can only wear one at a time); 10 sweatshirts; 3 pair of gloves; 2 scarves and I could continue on but you get the point. Is God telling me to empty my closet? I didn’t hear those words, but I was made aware of how much I have. Then it was like my eyes were open and someone within my circle was without a coat (it is 5 degrees here, bad to be without a coat). There was no hesitation on my part to give what I have, but a humble reminder that as bad as it may seem at times, there is someone who may have it a little worse.

Let’s look at our close circle and pray and ask God if there is something we can do, and then ask Him to stretch us a little further to see if there are others, outside of our circle! Let’s not be guilty of assuming someone around us has the basic provisions! Let’s take it to God and ask for guidance!

One last note, if it is cold outside and you are warm, you are blessed! If you ate dinner last night, you are blessed! If you have a coat and warm clothes, you are blessed! If you have a car to drive you where you need to go, you are blessed! If you have a job, you are blessed! There are many, all around us, who would have given anything for a meal last night, and you might be surprised to find out they are not homeless, but are a part of your circle of friends! Jounda LaMance

James 2:15-16 (AMP)
If a brother or sister is poorly clad and lacks food for each day, And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do? 

Jehovah Jirah, Lord our Provider! Thank You for our daily provisions! Thank You for meeting our needs! We have been more than taken care of and we know that it is all because of You! We also recognize that everything we have is a blessing from You! Help us Lord to remember this! Help us not to be selfish with what we have and help us Lord to see those around us that might be in need! If there is something we can do, give us the wisdom and direction to be a blessing, so that YOU receive all glory and honor and praise! In Your Mighty Precious Name we pray, AMEN!

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