A small garbage bag and its reward

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Luke 10:2

There it was, a small garbage bag left inside the entrance of the church. Everyone entered and stepped right over it. Some noticed it and looked at it, as if it was some strange object never seen before. While others carefully walked over it, afraid that it might go off like a mine. But no one bothered to pick it up. It obviously had the “cudies”. What escaped everyone’s knowledge, except for the person who so carefully placed it, was that below the bag was a single dollar, the reward for whoever would dare pick up the bag and perhaps, if so inclined, throw it away. However this would take a special individual. Someone moved by an extreme sense of responsibility for the house of God, enough to overcome the “cudies” and the stigma of having picked up garbage.

Meanwhile one gentleman stood by, a witness to the whole event. It was he who had placed the garbage bag and its reward. He was the wise experienced pastor, the Rev. Dr. Cecilio Melendez of the international Christian church “The Savior” Incorporated.

Everyone entered the church and took their places. Some prayed, while others read their bibles. Some spoke softly to each other and some quietly waited for the service to start. To the pastor’s disappointment the bag and its reward was still there for the taking. Then the pastor was pleasantly surprised. One young man, Andy, who had passed over the bag like everyone else decided to return to the entrance. He turned to the pastor and said “what is this doing here?” It seems the thought of this bag had been playing in his mind until he had built up enough courage to take action. The pastor smiled but offered no direction. The young man said to himself, but out loud, “well I am going to throw it away.” He lifted the bag, and there it was. “Pastor there is a dollar here, what should I do?” The pastor replied “You picked up the garbage. You earned it. Keep it.” Now, twenty years later, Andy is an official of the church, a member of the board of directors, a Sunday school teacher, director of the men’s ministry, musician and the co-director of the choir. Oh, and he still cleans up whenever it’s necessary.

A sense of responsibility is what is needed. To take action and not wait for it to somehow get done; even if it is something we might consider small. Andy earned much more than a dollar. He showed himself to be a man of both responsibility and action. We would live in a much better world if everyone took such an attitude and simply did their part. There is much work; scripture calls us to tend to the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned, and the naked. (Matthew 25:31-46) Scripture calls us to preach the good news and let the world know that there is a Savior. (Mark 16:15, 16) Work we do not lack, but the laborers are still few. If each of us can count on ourselves to complete even the small tasks, then together the greater good would be fulfilled.

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I just can’t take it anymore

“Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” (Matthew 25:21)

“I just can’t take it anymore.”  Does this sound about right, time for a vacation?   Well this is not an advertisement for a trip to the Bahamas, although I would love to be heading there myself.  Sometimes work, family, school, relationships, health, economics and countless other stressors can lead to a great deal of pain and sleepless nights, but as crazy as this may sound these may be great blessings.

God is working in your life.  He is teaching you and preparing you for even more.  Stress is an incredible motivator that pushes us to a higher level. It’s when we are under stress that we accomplish great things.  Little has been done while living a stress free life.  Those struggles and challenges are what enable us to accomplish feats that we never thought possible. The stuff we tell our grandchildren.

Jesus in the parable of the talents explains how the master gives 5 talents to one servant, 2 to the second and 1 to the last.  Immediately we see that the Master understands that not all his servants can handle the same responsibility. When the master returns and receives a good report from the first servant he rewards him with more talents. He also tells him “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” (Matthew 25:14-29) He graduated and was ready for more.

Think of life as a school, filled with many graduations.  As we learn to handle more stress, more responsibility, greater problems, we become stronger, better and more capable. God is able to place more in our hands. Remember God is good. His desire is not to over load you to the point you break. He is simply helping you grow. Paul explains “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) James says “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

We are not feeble, we stand with the Lord.  When it seems like it’s just too much stress remember we are conquerors. You will overcome; your accomplishment will be great!

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