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Some Perspective, Please!

Neal Pollard

–I have taught a Bible study in the hut of a woman in a jungle village of southeast Asia. She had no furniture and only a couple of cooking vessels and utensils. Her one-room house was thatched in a place that averages an inch or more of rain each week. Her lifestyle reflected that of nearly all of her neighbors. 

–I have stayed in the house of a faithful, fruitful gospel preacher in west Africa. One night, the temperature in the house was 91 degrees overnight. The interior walls were made of styrofoam, thin enough to hear the rats scurrying around and scratching behind them. They were actually better off than most in their village. 

–I have stayed not far from the Bay of Bengal in a crowded city across from a leper colony. Taking a bath/shower consisted of using a large cup from a single spigot in a “bathroom” where the water ran a light brown color. Within a hundred miles of there, at least 100,000 people were living under cardboard boxes and old tarps.

–I met a man at a church service in east Africa who made his living working in a gem mine. He and his wife had four children of their own. Their neighbors both died of AIDS, leaving their three children orphaned. This Christian and his wife adopted them. He made $2 per day and Sunday was his only day off. He supported a household of nine on less than $15 per week. 

In every one of the examples above, I was only there for a couple of weeks and returned home to hot water, running water, reliable shelter and automobiles, and a thousand other amenities. 

Many of the people in our world, before the current pandemic, struggled to survive through subsistence farming, poor nutrition, virtually non-existent healthcare, and little access to education. This sets up a cycle of poverty and disease that lowers life expectancy to middle-age at best. Sports, vacations, retirement plans, and insurance are, for many, a pipe dream if even a concept they have ever entertained. I once drove past a slum in a capitol city that was part of 2.5 million homeless people living in what was essentially a trash dump. 

The current crisis is real and impactful. It has required adjustments, changes, and sacrifices. Yet, from a medical, monetary, and material standpoint, we still find ourselves at the top of over 200 nations in just about every earthly way things can be measured. This is a time for us to pause and humbly thank God for His abundant blessings, to ask forgiveness for complaining in the face of such generosity, and to seek His guidance in how we can use this time to focus on others’ needs and helping those who are truly unfortunate. Matthew 25:31-46 is a convicting text, where the Lord tells us He watches how we respond to the hungry, thirsty, naked, stranger, sick, and imprisoned among “the least” of the world. Perhaps what we are going through now is a door of opportunity, to sharpen our perspective on what is essential and what is extra. Let it begin with me!

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By preacherpollard

preacher, Lehman Avenue church of Christ, Bowling Green, Kentucky

7 replies on “Some Perspective, Please!”

Sadly, the majority of Americans have never left America to know how great it is and how blessed we all are. In Mexico City, our bus drove for 20 minutes past a cardboard village filled with smoke from charcoal fires for cooking. The bus driver told us not to feel sorry for them, because they are closer to God, not being distracted by a lot of material possessions.

Thank you Neal, Great article. Appreciate this reminder! At times we feel stressed if not depressed, because we are running low on gloves, sanitizers, masks, cleaning material and yes, toilet paper in addition to the list you have on this reminder. Its ironic that I have forgotten that I too experienced a little of the lives mentioned in this article though it wasn’t as bad. Growing up in Samoa some 50 plus years ago, with 9 siblings, our parents did well. There was always bread on the table and though there was no butter, there was plenty of copra and lemon tea from the leaves of our lemon tree/plant by our fale (Samoan thatched house). We forget that we are of “more value than the sparrows” as addressed by the Lord in Mat.10:29-31 (and so many other places)

Neal, as you know, Gary and I have had similar experiences. I have a rock on my desk that I picked up from the road near the quarry in Arusha. I had a Bible study with 2 women who worked in that quarry, sitting on the ground every day with a make-shift hammer beating larger stones into the smaller ones used for the roads and to make concrete; they were happy to have a job! I took the rock to my Department Chair at the college and told her that if she ever heard me complain about my job to say, “Sarah, go look at your rock!” Even now, being semi-retired, I still have that rock as a reminder. I am amazingly blessed and eternally thankful.

Very good lesson

On Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 18:14 Preachers Pollard’s Blog wrote:

> preacherpollard posted: “Neal Pollard –I have taught a Bible study in the > hut of a woman in a jungle village of southeast Asia. She had no furniture > and only a couple of cooking vessels and utensils. Her one-room house was > thatched in a place that averages an inch or more of ra” >

Every Christian ( In America) should go to places you have described (at least 1 time). We can visualize what you have said and for a moment…. we realize the difficult environment – circumstances they endure . But to stand, experience, taste, smell, see … that will sink deep between your ears. It will help us keep Perspective when we think we have troubles. We have seen on occasion ( especially in this country) people deplane and, as they reach the last step, drop to there knees and kiss the ground. You will understand why

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