Which would you rather be? A burden or a blessing?
The Daily Mail reported the story of an elderly and disabled Virginia Beach man who routinely calls the local fire department twice a day. He doesn’t do this to harass them, but to ask for help – to assist him in getting out and back into bed each day. And they’ve responded – more than 1,100 times over the last three years!
When word of this story got out, it created an outrage among readers. “It’s not fair that one of our emergency services – funded through tax dollars – gives so much attention to one man when there’s a whole community to serve!” “This is a misappropriation of government services. This man should be charged for those services and the firefighters disciplined for such waste on one person.” “The fire department does not exist to help old people in and out of bed. This man’s needs does not constitute an emergency!”
It’s easy to condemn this man for being such a nuisance to the community and the firefighters for allowing this “waste of government services” to occur. Yet, this elderly man is simply reaching out to the only agency which has responded to his calls for help. He and his wife cannot afford to pay the daily fee for a nurse’s aide ($125), and they do not qualify for social services.
Consider also that firefighters do have a lot of downtime in between fires and other emergencies. Would that downtime be better utilized watching TV back at the station? Is it a crime or the misappropriation of government resources to be kind and neighborly to the disabled?
Consider also that God blesses us all in different ways. In most cases He blesses people with good health and strength and with the ability to make a living. If far fewer cases, God blesses disabled and poor people through the care of others who are not saddled with such problems. You see, whenever we are quick to condemn people whose situation never improves, who struggle from one emergency to another, we need to ask ourselves an important question. We need to ask,
“Would I rather trade places with that person and be disabled and poor? Would I like to be the person who always has to ask for help? Is it more pleasurable to be a burden or a blessing to others?”
Consider also that God calls each of us to be a channel of His blessings to those in need.
Well, I’ve had my own share of experiences at being in need, of being a burden, of having to repeatedly ask for help. And I assure you it is humiliating and painful. I’d much rather be a blessing and have the means to give to others.
Consider also that God calls each of us to be a channel of His blessings to those in need. As long as there’s an outflow from us to others, God will continue to pour out His blessings into our lives. But if that channel gets clogged with heartlessness and greed, if it ceases to function as a channel and becomes more of a sponge which only soaks up His blessings, then God will cease to pour forth into us. He will find others who are more willing to share with others. For God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7).
Consider also that God continually—multiple times every day, for a lifetime—comes to our aid. When it comes to needing help, we’re no better than the elderly man who keeps calling the fire department. But that’s OK, because God derives a great deal of pleasure in helping us. And when He pours out His attention on us, it’s never at the expense of anyone else. There is so much of God that He’s always more than enough for every one of us simultaneously.
So be generous. And be glad that God is generous and delights in being so. Look to Him. Reach out to Him. Be blessed by Him and be a blessing to others.
Dear Father in heaven, teach me to love as You have loved me. Make me a channel of Your blessings to others. Make me an instrument of Your peace and healing. Amen.