My barber is the product of a mid-20th century hard-working, conservative, Christian family. I think John would have preferred being born a hundred years earlier. His character seems to fit what I’ve heard about the people of that era. He’s rarely ventured outside the twenty-five mile radius of his current home in Fraser, Michigan. He and his wife did drive down to Florida twice, once to visit his dad, the second time to bury him. He takes a week off each year for vacation – which they almost always spend at a family campground in Ohio. Originally it was with their kids, now it’s with whichever grandkids they can convince to join them. His rationale for the short vacation time: “My overhead is a hundred dollars a day – whether I’m here working or not.” John’s been on an airplane once in his life; a flight he earned as a twelve year-old signing up 500 new customers to his paper route. He describes the hour flight around the metro-Detroit area as if it took place a month ago. He explores the world through the Discovery channel and the numerous books and magazines he reads and shares with his customers.
In contrast, I have a number of friends who literally trace the steps of Indiana Jones, as they spend their kids’ inheritance on far-flung vacation trips and cruises. One of them, let me call him Barry, last year went on a safari in Kenya, four months later took a European river cruise down the Rhine, and is currently exploring Mayan Ruins somewhere in Central America or Mexico.
Economically, I fall somewhere between John and Barry. Over the years I’ve been blessed with opportunities to see parts of the world. Now I choose to use my “re-fired” years writing for, ministering to, and sharing the resources and talents God has showered upon my wife and I, with His human creation.
Do I pity John? Do I envy Barry? I can honestly say “no” to both questions. I’m happy for each man. And I’m happy that God has allowed me to continue to use my mind productively. Each of us is enjoying the fruit of our labor in the way we deem best. This is true diversity of opinion and lifestyle as the word was intended to be used; not the synonym for “weird” as our culture has perverted its definition. I could go on with this discussion, but that’s for another day.
It’s so important that each person be the person God created him or her to be, using the talents they’ve been given – not comparing themselves to anyone else or trying to mimic them. In my Book, Soaring above the Storm, I quoted excerpts from a Don Franklin prophecy, which is worth sharing, because it is from the heart of God.
“Say not: That because I am doing something that is seemingly unimportant, that I am not important. Look at this one who is doing so much for the Kingdom of God and I am doing so little. I’m a failure. I’m a loser. I am so worthless in the eyes of God. What do I have to offer? …
When I came to bring the Messiah out of the earth, I brought him out of the lowliest place… I did not go for the great and glorious spots that were available, but to teach you humility – to teach you the importance and the glory of insignificant things… Study the Scriptures. Even the men and women who were used mightily of God spent many years doing insignificant things. I caused even the great prophets to sit by the brook and have a raven feed them. … I’ve taught much on little things in the Bible,… the widow’s mite, the small things. Even the man, who went to work at the last minute and received the same wage, have you not understood this parable that it doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter if you shake continents. You carry no more weight in my eyes than the one who goes to the widow next-door and gives her the subsidence to live the next day.
…. I will reward each one according to their faithfulness and their obedience to that which they are doing.…. I hand out the giftings. I hand out the callings. And I hand each one something that I want them to have and then I judge them according to how they take care of that which I give them. You are not required to even begin to measure up to anyone else around you.
You will always find those who think they cannot even do what you think you can do, even if what you think you do is small. Look around you. You’ll find those who cannot even do what you do. So then you’ll feel superior to them because, Look at what I can do. And then you will look back the other way and you will say, Oh, look at how great they are. I could never do that, and then you will feel inferior. What nonsense. Get out of that rat race, saith the Lord. It is carnality. It is an avenue that the enemy uses to drive wedges between ministries, wedges between brothers and sisters. … What a trap, what a horrible state to live in – constantly feeling better than others and constantly feeling not as good as others, tormented on both ends of the spectrum.
Put your blinders on, Children. The Devil is driving you crazy comparing yourselves one with another. … Watch your thinking patterns. If they begin to promote you, if they begin to show you that you are greater than others, then reverse them, … This is not an accurate picture of what you are. You can go forth and talk about God. You can go forth and pray for people. You can lay hands. You can attend church. You can give into the Kingdom of God, even if it is a widow’s mite.
…. So, walk in your walk. Rejoice in God, because someone who is more gifted is not going to get rewarded greater than you. And someone, who is less gifted in your eyes, may receive more reward than you, if they are faithful with what I put in them…. I’ve said it over and over again, if you will humble yourself, if you’ll go to the back of the feast and sit down and wait on God, and not exalt yourself in your own mind, and not compare yourself, you’ll be O.K. You won’t have to worry. I’ll come, I’ll get you, and I’ll give you a task you can handle.
…. If I have you do some small things for a season, what is that to you? Prophets have to sit by rivers and eat bread. It’s hard on the ego after they have ministered to the whole nation, hard on the ego after they’ve had the praise of the people. Hard on the ego – but very good for the soul. Wait on God. … I love the humble and the contrite.… start lifting people up around you. Encourage them. Put an arm around them. Tell them, You’re doing good. You’re trying. I’m praying for you. I love you.…. Be kind one to another, forbearing one another, forgiving one another in love. This is what I’m looking for. This is the Church that pleases the heart of God. Don’t feel inferior; don’t go for superiority, but find an equal balance one with another as brothers and sisters, humbling yourself.”