My brother in law Tony helping the poor

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Givers and Takers

I've learned a lot about people and myself over the years, one of the most interesting observations I have made is realizing that there are really only two kinds of people in this world...givers and takers.  That's right, there are those who feel compelled to give and others who are obsessed with taking.  Granted, they may not know this about themselves but in the end we know who they are.  We learn this when we have been taken for granted or when we find ourselves isolated and alone because people start to avoid us. 

I believe there is good in everyone and that if people really knew the effects of their behavior they would stop the behavior.  How do we know if we are a giver or a taker?  It's easy, look at your life.  Do find that people don't call you anymore or don't want to work with you, or do you spend every opportunity thinking about how you can make someone else happy or better off?  If you are the ladder, you are a giver, if you are the former, you're probably a taker. 

Takers take without you knowing it.  They fight every battle to the death.  They want to be right, to win!  Have you ever known a person like this?  They tell you what route you should take to get to your destination location, they tell you what to eat or how to excersize, if you say "I like the blue dress" they say "take the brown one."  These are "little" ways they take but they can really add up over time.  All this battle for control leaves the others feeling worthless and useless.  Why would we want someone we care about to feel worthless?  It doesn't make sense.  Shouldn't we try to encourage our brothers and sisters?  I have known people who are so out of control that they would even argue with an expert on how to accomplish a task!  Surely an expert should be given first consideration, no? 

Takers also want you to feel sorry for them. This is BIG!  They try to manipulate you when they are truly not smart enough to beat you.  They tell you their problems, struggles, and even try to emotionally control you.  This is all so that you can continue to do what they ask. 

Be careful people, recognize who has control in your life and try to remember that you are only required to submit to one person...Jesus!  Anyone else who tries to get you to do what THEY want is playing God!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Will of My Father

Each person was created for one purpose and one purpose only, to do the will of his Father.  Now I'm sure there are a great many people who really don't believe this is the case because if they did they'd have to do something about it.  For those of us who do believe we have one eternal do God's will, the question becomes, "what is God's purpose or will for me, and how do I figure that out?"  For non-believers this question is moot, they live their lives acquiring what they can, or making ends meet but at the end of the day when lying in bed those last few moments before falling asleep they reflect backwards.  As Christians we are expected to live in the present, not lamenting over the past or worrying about the future, but instead we are to do the best with what we have right now.  I believe the will of our Father can be found in these present moments, the now moments of our life.  "What is God asking of me right now?"  Maybe it is to drive a sick friend to the doctor, maybe it is to help a struggling family, or maybe it is to make someone laugh or feel happy.  All of these things add up to our Father's will. 

God wants us to be happy, not the kind of happiness we feel when we do something nice for someone and we feel all proud inside, and not the kind of happiness we feel when we win the lottery either.  He wants to give us "internal" happiness and that can only be found by doing His will. 

When I was first invited to go to El Salvador I was VERY hesitant because I had never even heard of that country before let alone had any desire to visit it!  I would have rather gone to Italy or Las Vegas or the Bahamas, but nooooooo I had to be asked to go to El Salvador.  I went, and when I came home I realized what God's will was for me.  I was only able to figure that out becaue I said yes to a question that was asked of me in that moment.  Had I ignored that moment I would be a completely different person today. 

A few days ago I met a friend who I went to Catholic grade school with 30 years ago.  I had not heard his name or seen him in that many years.  By some strange business chance we decided to have a cup of coffee to learn more about each other's marketing careers, as it turned out we spent that hour talking about our faith life instead.  It was an amazing conversation!  He was getting so upset and frustrated with the church and he told me how he wrote a letter to his pastor insisting that they re-think what they are doing and try to make some sensible changes!  After he told me all about his letter I realized the true reason for our meeting was not work related at all but it was God's divine intervention.  I said to my friend, "so what did the pastor do?"  He said, "nothing yet."  "And I'm quite sure he won't either," I replied.  "Why not," said my friend?  "Because YOU have to be the change you want to see...nobody else is going to do it if you're not willing to," I said. 

This is true.  Our divine will is in our face every single day calling out to us loud and clear, in the people we come across, opportunities that present themselves, and in our own hearts.  We just need to RECOGNIZE the Father in our every moment.  My friend wrote me the next day and said "thank you for lighting that fire under me...I needed to hear what you had to say!"  I'm glad I was able to do God's will at that moment, but the fire came from the Holy Spirit, not me!

Who is God putting before you right NOW to help you do His will??

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Foot of the Cross

     I thought I would give my readers some food for thought.  I'm sure every good Christian understands "love thy neighbor" and all that that entails, but the question is, how?  The Bible tells us that it is easy to love those who are good to us, aka our friends, but if we love only those who love us what merit is there in that for us?  Something that I have always found to be very interesting is that Jesus had good friends, he even called 12 men to be his closest friends.  He traveled from town to town giving people a new way to live and helping them to understand what they need to do to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Many people loved to listen to him preach and they loved his message even more.  His 12 closest friends even gave up their lives to follow him!  But at the end of the day, when Jesus was forced to walk the road to Calvary and then ultimately was lifted high on the cross, what did he see?  3 faithful women and one courageous man, John the apostle.  Where were all of his "friends?"  Where was their loyalty to their friend Jesus?  Even Peter, the Rock, was no where to be found.  I often wonder what went through his mind at that moment as looked down on his meager followers.  As he preached from town to town to thousands of people who followed him, where were all his fans? 

     Doesn't this happen to us sometimes?  Don't we love and cherish our friends, especially when we are out to dinner with them or celebrating a wedding or another happy occassion?  But I wonder, who will be courageous enough to stand at the foot of my cross when I need them?  This is what I ask you to think about today.  Very often the people we "think" will be there, will not, and perhaps the one's we have neglected, ignored, or treated unfairly will surprise us and have courage.  I'm not sure who will be at the foot of my cross but I'm pretty sure I'll be surprised!  Whose cross do we have the courage to stand at the foot of?