I’ve Been Used

4 03 2013

“There is nothing small in the service of God.”Image

I suppose some would say I’m bragging, while others would conclude I’m complaining, when truth is all I’m doing is stating a fact. And that fact is, that in the 40 years of marriage Cathy and I have celebrated, we have found ourselves called upon to help or service someone or something more times than I could begin to count.  There have been important times of being called to duty that definitely will always stick with us. We have found ourselves sitting with people who have gone through very traumatic moments like losing everything they have to some form of ruin, or worse, losing a loved one, and in this day and age, even finding myself sitting with family as they watch a dear soul lose the battle for life caused by the deadly virus AIDS.  Yes, those are the events that stick with someone for a lifetime no doubt.  But what about all the small contributions, for lack of a better word; a ride to an appointment, a $20 loan with the promise of payback (knowing that will never happen).  Then there’s the individual who just needs someone to listen to them when no one else will.  I could go on forever with examples, but like I said it could be easily interpreted as bragging or complaining.  But I’d be willing to wager a new nickel I’m not alone in these endeavors; that many people find themselves being called into non-gratuitous service; or as some might define it, “being used by others.”

Granted, there have been the ones that seem to have a problem all the time, that no matter how much you help it’s never enough.  Well I’ve come to learn you’re just not going to be able to help every person that crosses your path, that no matter what you do, the person or the situation never seems to get any better.  So does that mean you’ve done nothing but waste your time and possibly resources?  Certainly not!  There was a time I would have thought contrary to that but two factors changed that mindset in me; one came in the fashion of a pint size toddler with sleepy eyes.

It was years ago and I was working out of town because I couldn’t find a job locally.  A man who worked at the same place and lived near me asked if he could ride with me since he didn’t have a reliable car.  Feeling a little funny about this character I reluctantly agreed and started picking him each morning.  Seldom was he ever ready and even made us late for work a few times.  As time went on and I got to know my rider better I came to realize he suffered from anxiety issues, that nearly anything could send him into a deep panic attack, a couple of those I witnessed 1st hand in my car.  As we rode back and forth to work I spent countless hours trying to help him understand that he didn’t need to fall apart every time adversity, be it small (which is what it was most of the time) or large would confront him. Once or twice I really thought I had gotten through to him, only to find him right back in the same wild-eyed terror the next day.  After several months of this, I was resolved that nothing was ever going to change and now this demeanor of his was starting to affect me.  I was going to have to part ways with my friend.  There are times that’s the only avenue you have left and for the sake of your own well being or a loved one, you have to make a tough decision like that.  That situation worked itself out when his brother got a job there and he wouldn’t need to ride with me anymore.  But before that transition came about, I still picked him for another week.  On one of those mornings I was sitting in front of his trailer waiting like I had many times when his wife came rushing out.  He was in there having one of his attacks and she couldn’t get him calmed down.  Entering I found him rushing from room to room looking for something he felt he just had to find.  I tried to calm him down to no avail.  I found myself getting angry at the whole situation and turned to head out and go to work without him; but then, there she was.  She couldn’t have been 3 years old, long bushy brown hair, dressed in a sleep shirt that reached the floor.  Rubbing her eyes from sleep, she had been awakened by all the noise her dad was making.  I found myself looking down at her as she looked up at me, and then; two little arms outstretched for me to pick her up. As soon as I gathered her up, her head was down against my shoulder.  I stood there for what seemed to be a long time swaying back and forth as this little angel clung to me. When she was finally asleep, her mom took her from my arms and returned her to bed.  Her dad got passed his attack and we headed for work.  And for the very first time, I was glad God had put this man in my path.  I left the job and never saw this man again.  

Flash forward a dozen years or so and I’m at the grocery store where I see the wife of my former rider.  She had a teenage girl with her who I knew instantly was the angel that slept in my arms.  I wasn’t going to say anything, but the mom reminded her of that night, and the next thing I knew I had the same arms around my neck, only a lot bigger than previous. “You don’t know how often I’ve thought about that time when I was scared and you helped me.”  Wow, I poured hours into helping her dad, to no avail, and here I’m being told just a few minutes of holding made a difference in this child’s life. How cool is that for God to “use me” in such a way?!!

Okay, I said there were two factors that changed how I looked at being a help when it seemed it’s not worth the effort.  The second one again stems from my position in Christ. I’ll say it again as I’ve said it many times, I’m not a religious man; I’m a man of faith. And if I hold to that faith then I hold to what the Word of God tells and teaches me.

Hebrews 6:10 tell us “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

If I’ve learned anything, calling oneself a Christian means you have chosen to follow a path where you must be willing to be “used” at any moment, at any time; its not a passive life, it’s a life of action.  Will you see accomplishments at every endeavor you put forth in the name of the Lord?  Absolutely not.  But that doesn’t mean it didn’t have a purpose, that God won’t use it somewhere, sometime.  The saying ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ is true, especially when you’re giving of yourself; He doesn’t forget!!!

Travelers of the Rock Road are many, most are like you and me, common to the world, nothing special to write a book about.  Just traveling on, seeing what the next bend offers and what good they can be in the Service of the King.  If you’re one of them and sometimes feel wore down from the journey, thinking maybe what you have to offer isn’t really worth much, just remember what one person said; “In Christian service the branches that bear the most fruit hang the lowest.”  Just a thought I hope you’ll give consideration to. 🙂


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