There’s Always Someone Worse Off Than You

   I have no idea how many times I’ve visited folks in hospitals, nursing homes, convalescent centers, funeral homes, crisis centers, jails, etc. Of these visits, the majority have been with brethren who genuinely endeavored to be righteous throughout their lives. But honesty dictates several of these visits are with souls who are not righteous, and the contrast is sharp and clear! Those of unrighteous nature always try to blame someone else for their situation and feel they are worse off than anyone they know. The righteous souls (I don’t remember any of them being in prison) always accept their plight and realize “time and chance happeneth to all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). They are always quick to say, “Things could be worse.”

   For example, I remember a man I visited frequently because his mother was a very faithful Christian, and she earnestly desired her only child to repent and obey God. I can remember but only a few times I visited with him outside of a jail cell! His mother would ask me to take her to see her son in prison, and I gladly obliged her. The last time I saw him, he was very ill and confined by law to a nursing home facility. Even then, his life was “everyone else’s fault,” including his mother’s, who died two years before my last visit with him.

   A few days ago, I visited several who were (and are yet) ailing. One is past ninety years, and another is past eighty. Neither are in the greatest health, yet their love for God and His children, and their cheerfulness and gratitude for the blessings of life they have are immeasurable qualities of their demeanor! They don’t blame anyone for their present state of life. In fact, their greatest concerns are those who, in their opinion, are worse off than they are! They have no “woe is me” in their speech; there is no “this is depressing me” mindset. They are the epitome of doing what Peter said to do: “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” (! Peter 5:7)

   Let’s face it: we all have our problems from time to time, and we all get “down in the dumps” from time to time. But what value is there in complaining about it, or worse, “feeling sorry for ourselves” or worser, blaming someone else? Think about it: those who blame someone else for their ills usually believe the other fellow is somehow “better off”. Doesn’t that border on jealousy to feel such a way? What does the Christian have to be jealous of in this world? So why complain, why feel sorry for yourself, or why blame someone else?

   Matthew 6:25 – 34 is a familiar passage of scripture but apparently is seldom studied. The text is speaking of contentment. As Paul wrote, “Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content.” (1 Timothy 6:8). Also, the Hebrew writer says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5) Contentment must carry the understanding of “lack of complaint,” to state it mildly. That would include the absence of “woe is me,” “I’m depressed, and I worry about …” and even the, “it’s their fault” attitudes! If we truly BELIEVE the promise of Matthew 6:33 and the commandment of Colossians 1:18, then Hebrews 13:5 – 6 has no misunderstanding in the mind of the FAITHFUL Christian!

   Ah, therein is the key: FAITHFULNESS – the ever-present action of being full of faith! (2 Peter 1: 1 – 11) Faithful Christians should think of it this way: “I might be suffering in the flesh, but I’m not suffering as harshly as Christ did.” “I might be taken advantage of by those who claim to love me, but they can’t stop me from serving God.” “I know it’s a fearful thing to think something might happen to my loved ones or me, but I still have God and Christ and that’s more help than others have!” See? There’s always someone worse off than you!

   A man was struggling with the fact several in his family were without God, and thus without salvation. He had done all he knew to do to teach them and lead them, yet they would neither learn nor follow. Alas, he was in despair and pondered “just giving in” to them. But in talking over this matter with a friend, the friend asked, “Are you a father, grandfather, or a Christian first and foremost?” The man answered, “I’m a Christian, of course!” The friend then said, “Then stop forgetting it!” Paul said, “All that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (1 Timothy 3:12) Does that not pose the question, “If we aren’t suffering, how godly are we?” Did not Christ suffer? More or less than we do? Did not the earliest disciples suffer? More or less than we do? Let’s remember, we are CHRISTIANS … and many souls are not! Now, who is “worse off” than we are?