The Apostle Paul wrote: In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” –Acts 20:35. (NIV)
A couple of weeks ago, I was walking along the sidewalk when a teenager sidled up to me on his skateboard, stopped me, and said, “Thank you for your service.”
It took me a moment to wonder how he knew I was a veteran, then I realized he had seen my license plate that indicates that I am a disabled veteran.
We had the nicest conversation, as I told him that I was a chaplain’s assistant and, as such, I helped a lot of fellow servicemen get acquainted with Jesus.
I will never forget the day I received my draft notice. I had a private argument with God. The Army was the last place I wanted to spend two years of my life. But the answer was not what I wanted to hear: “You take what you are given, and I will do the rest.”
I did and God did. I was able to bless a lot of people with the musical talents God had given me, and those blessings opened doors I could not have imagined.
Sometimes, what you are given has all the foul odor of a rotten deal. But when you take the tough calls and apply them to the needs of others, the foul odor turns to sweet incense.
The limitations we encounter in our life’s journey provide some of the greatest lessons to be learned and experienced.
In retrospect, my years in the military were more foundational to my life work than all the formal education combined.
I challenge you to take the things you’ve been given, both good, bad, and indifferent, and commit to learn from them in ways that will be transformational, not only for you personally but for all people you will be able to bless.
In my book, The Perils and Parables of Pastor Preechet, the new pastor inherits a secretary from the previous pastorate. He would much prefer the opportunity to hire his own employee, but ultimately, by taking what he has been given, amazing things transpire which take us to the very heart of the book and beyond in surprising and wonderful ways.