Reflections ~ A Tale of Three Men ~

August 24, 2012

After our 9:00 AM service one recent Sunday, I greeted Gary Naylor, who had a big smile on his face. “How’s it going Gary?”
“Great, I just got a new job.”
“What are you going to be doing?”
“I’m going to be driving a school bus full time.”
For the last couple of years Gary has had two or three jobs at the same time. He worked at Walmart, delivered morning newspapers and drove a school bus every week. The last time we talked, he told me about the opportunities he had to share his faith with some of the foreign nationals who worked with him at Walmart.
When I first met Gary, he and his partners owned properties all over Arizona. They bought hundreds of foreclosures, fixed them up and sold up to five a week for good profit. When the housing market crashed in 2007, Gary and his wife Jean lost all their properties, including their beautiful home in Phoenix where they raised their four sons.
At the conclusion of our 11:00 AM service that same Sunday, another man came forward with his wife to talk with me. We had never met before, but it was quickly apparent that he was bitter. He tried to convince me that there is a conspiracy by our government to persecute Christians. After a few tense minutes I asked him if he had a job. When he said that he was not working, I told him he needed to get a job. He became irate.
“Don’t you know we have a depression going on? The illegals have taken over all the work! I’m offended by you!”
I thought he might attack me any moment, so I started walking slowly out of the sanctuary. His wife gave me an apathetic shrug as I made a safe exit.
Driving home I couldn’t help but contrast the attitudes of these two men. Gary had lost millions and yet he still had his faith, his joy, and his wonderful wife. He was humble enough to do whatever work he could find. The visitor was a carpenter, too proud to do anything with lesser value. His bitterness led him into deception.
On vacation one sunny day in San Diego, I chatted with a landscaper who said, “What a beautiful day to be working. In another hour I’ll be doing a job where I can see the ocean!”
I don’t know if he was legal, but I do know that Jesus said, “The meek will inherit the earth.” (Mat. 5:5). Those who are humble and thankful for the gifts of life and work, will be blessed with access to the whole earth. That has been God’s plan from the beginning. We don’t control our circumstances, but if we enjoy the journey, it’s a lot more fun and fruitful.

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