Things. We all have a lot of things. A lot! We have cars and we have lawnmowers. Most people have more than one watch… just in case one breaks, or we misplace our phone. We have our storage sheds and attics full of so many things that we are saving because they are so important. You know those things that we eventually sell in a garage sale or give to the Salvation Army or whoever is willing to haul them off. We are a society of gizmos and gadgets. We all want the latest, newest model of whatever.
It’s hard to imagine, but we all are guilty of our materialism. We have so much stuff, that sometimes we can’t even find what we need. We know it is there somewhere in among all of our stuff, but where? And when we really need it and can’t find it, we don’t hesitate to run to the store and buy another one because we can’t find it when we need it.
We Americans have seen everything. Nothing much intrigues us anymore. We have everything. If we don’t, we know where we can go buy it if we need it, uh, want it. It is amazing. No the stuff isn’t amazing, it’s amazing what we will buy, not because we need it, but just because we want it. I’m not talking about the big price tag items that only the top five percent of our society can afford. I’m talking about all the things that anyone of us can afford to buy. That special widget on TV, which is just $19.95 and comes with three free do-daddies, and an extra special free gizmo if we order it within the next 10 minutes of the commercial.
We have it all, or the ability to buy it if we want it because it is available. A few years back I made a trip Russia and to Belarus. I had taken a church group over on a medical mission’s trip. We were surprised to find that the average Belarusian did not look like a foreigner from a strange culture. We Americans always have our mindsets about how other people should look or dress, but these wonderful people could sit down among us here in Georgetown and other than their language, no one would notice much of anything about them to distinguish them from ourselves. Once you got to know them on an individual basis, we found that they were a delightful people.
Our group had taken a lot of different trinkets to give away to the children with which we came into contact. We quickly found out that the adults were just as excited to get what we were giving away to the children and teens.
They had Coca Cola and Pepsi, and you could find American candies for sale in some of the shops that catered to the international tourist. Of course in Moscow, more of these things were easier to find. You would see signs advertising American products written in both English and Russian. They were familiar with many of our products there, but some of the simple things we take for granted, literally amazed them.
Each of us had carried trinkets, and various items to give away in the street meetings and special services that we were holding in the city of Baranovichi. One of the young translators saw the plastic bag of items I had with me that day. She was intrigued; I thought by the things I had to hand out and asked if she could see it. I handed it over to her and to my amazement; she wasn’t interested in what was in the bag, but in the bag itself. It was a plastic sandwich bag with a zip-lock on it. For about seven or eight minutes she kept opening and closing that bag, totally intrigued by how it worked. She had never seen one before. She was thirteen. She asked me if she could have the bag when I had emptied it. I really was amazed, because, I would have thrown it away. It was just some of my stuff that I really didn’t need any more. How many zip-loc bags do we have in our homes and don’t think a thing about having them or using them, much less about throwing them away when we finish with them?
There was another young lady of eighteen that touched our hearts. She was totally enthralled by the long balloons that my daughter Keely and some of the others were using to form animals with. She had never seen anything like that before. She was also one of our translators. We had taken balloons over to give to the children. We had all kinds of balloons; we had round ones and the long skinny ones that could be twisted into animal shapes. This young girl looked at one of our team members and said, “I’m eighteen years old and have never had a balloon.” She got a balloon. Things. Just balloons to us. We can buy them by the bag full. Our kids have had balloons without number while growing up. She was a grown woman and had never had a balloon.
Things. We have them without considering how truly blessed we are in this country. God has truly blessed us as a people. Are we aware of that? I believe we really fail to see and understand the enormity of God’s blessings on our lives here in this great country of ours. America. God has indeed blessed America!
The sad thing is, that there are many people right here in our own country who have less than many of us do. Oh they have had balloons and used zip lock bags, but I just read that there are now over 36 million unemployed Americans in this Covid-19 crisis that is all around us. We should be aware of that. Look for ways to help the less fortunate. Look around and see your neighbor’s needs. We are blessed. Be a blessing! When was the last time you were intrigued by a zip-loc bag? Just because the need maybe small that you see, don’t let that stop you from helping to meet that need.
Psalms 9:18 But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.
Psalms 82:3-4 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
Brad Morris, a retired minister, originally from Georgetown, served as a pastor and then as a missionary in Costa Rica and Ecuador, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He has been in ministry for 50 years and a columnist for 17 years, 13 of which have been for the Times.