I just returned from a ServLife trip to Zimbabwe and had a conversation with someone that was really insightful. I asked a local poor pastor how he had seen God working. In his response, it occurred to me that our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are poor often are so grateful for how they have seen God supply their every need, no matter how difficult the situation seems from us as the outsider. Some of his responses were, “God has given me enough food for my family this year” and “God protected us from the ambush”. This is true from most of the regions where I have been. Most often, we from the West who are materially so blessed only see what is lacking or what is not present. I often think in my mind, “If only they had a better, wholesome diet.” What a lesson this is for me in recent days. We should be so grateful for how God supplies. We should see what is present in other people or nations and not merely what is lacking.
The scripture is filled with instruction and reminders for us to be thankful and grateful to God for what He has done for us and how he provides for us. We are so often filled with envy and jealousy for what others have or what we think they have. We often say this to ourselves, “If I only had that car then I would be happy, if I only had friends like that person,…” It is difficult to be content but not impossible. Perhaps contentment starts with merely being grateful for what we do have. There is so much we have that we do not even think about. The ability to regulate our water temperature when we shower, the convenience of mobility and conversation, laughter with friends, the beauty of nature, and the list can go on and on.
As the writer of Hebrews says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Heb 13:5
I am so thankful and grateful for you and your friendship, prayers, and financial support to ServLife. We could not do it without you.
(By Joel Vestal: April 2008)