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June 29, 2015

Serving Until The End

            When she was young, Maude McIntyre raised her family on a farm in East Texas. In time, her husband died, her children grew up and she grew old. Thus she became a full-time resident of “Wood County nursing home.”

Every Thursday, I would drop by to visit some of our church members in that place; so I got to know Maude quickly. She was a Christian who breathed sunshine on everyone who visited her in room 4.

One day I came by, but she was not in her room. A nurse told me that Maude was down the Hall talking to someone. I turned to make my way there.  All of a sudden, here came Maude into her room as fast as her wheelchair would take her.

Breathlessly, she tried to explain. “Sorry I wasn’t here when you came, preacher. I was in Sally’s room trying to cheer her up.”  Then she got a scowl on her face and whispered,  “You might want to go see her, preacher.  Sally’s awful sad—she has some big problems!”

Driving home that day, I nearly laughed when I thought about it.  It never entered Maude’s mind that Maude herself was far away from home—alone—in declining health—and in a wheelchair . Yet, to Maude, It was Sally who had the “big problems.”  Maude never worried about herself; just others.

In his bestselling book, The Purpose-driven Life, Rick Warren said (on the first line of his first chapter,) “It’s not about us!”  When Christian believers can practice that—when they can forget themselves and start thinking of others, then suddenly they find the joy that life can bring.  Joy comes when they are not even looking for it.

On the other hand, I know of a Christian girl who turned away from God.  She wallows daily in self-centered misery, and blames God for every bad thing that ever happened in her life. Just recently I was visiting in her town and I asked someone about her.  “Oh, she is not doing well“ said a friend.  “She doesn’t serve God anymore; and who can blame her?  The friend proceeded to list some of the horrible things that had happened in her life.  Every event was over 20 years old!  The lady couldn’t or wouldn’t get past horrific events.

A young lady came one day to my office. She too was miserable, and I could see that she was internalizing her woes. I told her that she needed to get deeply involved in serving others. I listed for her the things that she could do in our congregation, and she wasn’t against it. But she added, “I will take some job; I don’t want to do anything to get my mind off my troubles.”  I reminded her that that was exactly why we were talking –to get her mind on to happier things.

To spend a lot of time analyzing and studying our problems, will simply make us miserable. But the road to happiness is being able to forget our troubles and to start helping others.

In the Bible, Job suffered all kinds of tragedies.   His wife advised him to “Curse God and die.”  But Job answered, in Job 1:21-22  . . . “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

A sweet attitude will go along way in making life sweet.

David Lusk

David Lusk is the evangelist for the church of Christ in Christoval, Texas.


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