I had the opportunity to work with a local pharmacy delivering prescription medication to several needy patients in our community. The experience was unnerving. It made me confront some ugly realities in my own life.
This first delivery was to a large hospital. A man had a brain tumor removed and was being discharged later that day. He needed some powerful healing drugs for his recuperation, As my companion carried one ice chest full of drugs and I the other to the patient's room, it became clear that the patient was very poor. Neither he, nor his wife could speak English. They needed an interpreter. I suspected they were illegal immigrants.
A feeling of anger rushed over me. I made the assumption that this patient was unfunded. His surgery and these expensive drugs were being provided free to him, but at the expense of the tax payer. My righteous indignation went into high gear and I started doing "what if" scenarios. If I had that surgery, I would have had to pay for it, probably putting a significant dent in my life savings, or worse yet, wiping me out financially. I left the hospital in a foul mood.
My second encounter was delivering a prescription to a patient who received her drugs free of charge because she was on Medicaid. She proceeded to complain about how long it took to get the drugs to her. She is getting her prescriptions for free and she is whining about a slight delivery delay. This was like putting gasoline on my burning anger. It was all I could do to be civil to the woman.
Finally, we went to the home of an elderly lady. Clearly, she had medical problems, but she had such a serene aura about her. She was most thankful to receive her prescriptions and then offered to give us a tip for delivering the medication to her home. That was when God opened my eyes.
This woman's spirit of gratitude and generosity was like a dagger to my heart. Through this elderly lady God showed my how poisonous my anger and self righteous indignation was to me and those around me. I immediately repented and asked for forgiveness.
It was a sobering epiphany. I was humbled and asked God for only a fraction of the gratitude exhibited by the elderly lady. Genuine gratitude pushes out anger and self righteousness. For Christians, daily gratitude is a measure of "heart health". I hope my heart condition is improving.
An attitude of gratitude.....very nice....
God bless your obedience to His commands to serve others, Ron. When my wife and I started serving the homeless years ago we confronted the same biases and lack of love in our own hearts for many of these people, who when we look at through worldly eyes seem to deserve what has befallen them. Then the Holy Spirit begins to soften our hearts and we see them through God's eyes...lost souls who are crying out for Him even though they do not recognize His voice. I love your comment about daily gratitute and heart health -- dead on. My verse for the week that breaks me into tears over how God's love kisses my and my family is Romans 8: 31 through 39 -- a great expression of The Father's love for them who love Him.
Have a terric weekend and don't forget to praise the Lord and worship with like-minded believers!
Your story reminded me of one of my favorite quotes: "Heart Power is stronger than HorsePower." - by Henry J. Heinz, the founder of Heinz Ketchup.
Thank you for sharing it, Ron!
Ron, thanks for your story. I struggle with the same issues. When I was single and living in an apartment I led a woman who was an illegal immigrant to the Lord. It disturbed me but I was still a friend to her. I also don't typically give money to homeless people on the street. We have the most audacious beggars in the D.C. area. But a couple of times the Holy Spirit led me to stop and give a homeless person money. In both cases I led them to the Lord. Of course, there was the time that I felt led to approach a man who begged for money claiming to be homeless outside one of the Metro stations day after day. I asked him firmly: "A young lady at my church who is bound to a wheelchair sent out 150 job applications and was rejected in every case. You look healthy--what's your excuse?" He just stammered. The scriptures say that if you don't work you don't eat. This guy was collecting money under false pretenses and not paying taxes on it. We all get into trouble if we are not listening to the Holy Spirit. The key is to be guided by the Holy Spirit and to not judge by appearances. God knows people's hearts. That said, I have a lot to learn myself on being Spirit-led!
Bobby...thanks for the encouraging words.
A consistent attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude is a struggle for me. I can't do it. Moment by moment dependence on Jesus is the only answer for me. As you see, I am also working on that... Ron
Bobby Compton said:
ROCK SOLID - Ron Terry