I heard a story from a wise man I know. This may not be exact but here’s how I remember it :

A man and his wife went out one night to help out at a homeless shelter. They were working in the kitchen busy as bee’s serving up some dinner and handing out plastic utensils.  As the man was working a homeless man walked up and recieved his portion of food. When he was handed his set of plastic utensils he looked at the set disdainfully and proclaimed, “I want a metal fork”.  The man replied, ” Plastic will work just fine”, to which the homeless man indignantly replied with a slur of  rude words that he did not want the food if he couldn’t have a metal fork to eat it with. He turned around and stormed out of the shelter.  Surprised and a little annoyed, the man watched as the homeless man walk out in a huff .  He began thinking to himself, “What’s his problem! We’re all here working hard to serve him and help him and he has the nerve to demand a metal fork when we have a plastic one for him that works just fine! Not only that, none of the hard working people  here have even had supper yet!”. He went back to serving food and handing out plastic forks and as the night wore on a thought occurred to him. ” That man is me”, he thought, “God has given me his Son and has provided for all my needs and  I am no different from that homeless man who,even though he has what he needs, demands more from God and fails to see my blessings and the way God has taken care of me”.

 

 

 

 

 

That is it. That is the revelation in this encounter with this homeless man. I thank the man who had this revelation for sharing this wonderful story. It’s funny how we think we are so advanced and different from people of the very beginning of times. You know how they say, “You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy” ? Well I think that the same goes for us in a sense. You can change the setting, the technology,  you can change the place and you can change the time but the sinful nature that dwells in us as people does not change. Wanting more things, different things and what we perceive as better things is something that dates back to Adam and Eve. The story of manna and quail in Exodus 16 comes to mind. “In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’S hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death”. (Ex 16: 2-3). When I read this I can’t help but think that they were being a bunch of whiny brats and then, even though they were acting like that God responded in kindness and provided them with bread in the morning and quail in the evening. He tested them to see if they would trust him enough to only take what they needed and the result was that, “he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little” (vs. 18). Amazing huh?

We are all pompous enough to think we deserve the metal fork rather then the plastic. Which one of us doesn’t look around at least from time to time and think, “I need a new…”, (you fill in the blank) and really, you don’t need it, you just want it. You think it would enhance your popularity, or your looks, or enable you to keep up with the so-called Jones’, it would help you save face and give off a certain impression you desire to give off.  It kind of makes me sick to think about the times I asked God for a metal fork when he had already provided me with a plastic one. I know and you all know in your hearts the times you have asked for something that would offend God. Just to finish this up I’m going to say,  recognize your blessings, differentiate between wants and needs, be thankful and praise God in all situations, do not store up earthly treasure, do store up heavenly treasure!

“And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.  Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Provide purses for yourselves in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Luke 12:29-34

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