Yesterday, I went to lunch with several coworkers from different departments in the company. When they suggested an expensive place to eat, I hesitated at first. They said, “What’s the matter?” Then one remembered and said, “Oh yeah. Your department doesn’t budget for food like ours does.” I replied, “I have to think about dinner. I don’t want to spend my per diem on lunch.” Someone replied, “Come on, poor boy. We’ll figure something out.”
I haven’t been the “poor boy” at the table since I was a kid. All these emotions came running back to me. I remembered what it was like to be at the mercy of whoever had invited me to eat. I had to see what they were thinking of ordering so I could order something less expensive. There were a lot of lessons I learned being the poor boy at the table. Lessons that helped shape who I am today.
One thing it taught me was humility. When you’re the one who is depending on someone else, you learn all about humility. You don’t get what you want, you get what they allow you to have. It’s when we can afford to get what we want that we forget about humility. We forget how to depend on someone else. We forget how to depend on God. We tell Him, “I can do this,” and we save Him for bigger things in our life. We start to treat Him like a genie.
God never wanted to be a genie and He doesn’t want us to save Him for the big things in our lives. He wants us to know what it’s like to trust Him for everything. He wants us to know what it truly means to walk by faith. The problem is that walking by faith is scary after you’ve adjusted to a life of walking by sight. It’s at that point that we only look to God in the dark hours of our life. He wants to be there with you in the light and the dark, the good and the bad.
Another thing being the poor kid at the table taught me was appreciation. I learned to appreciate what I had. I wasn’t going to get anything new for a while. I had to appreciate and take care of anything new that I got. My mom would say, “Those have to last you until Christmas. That’s when we can get you new ones.” Those words would ring in my ear as I had to make a decisions. Other kids got new stuff when theirs broke. They didn’t appreciate what they had. God wants us to be appreciative for everything He’s given us and not to be always wanting something we don’t have.
God gives each of us what we need. We don’t always get what we want. He said that when we’re faithful over the little things He’s given us, He’ll give us more. We have to learn to be humble enough to recognize that the little we have is enough. We also have to learn to appreciate it and take care of it by being faithful with it. When we learn to do those things, He knows we’re ready for more.
There’s always another level for Him to take us to. Have we learned to be happy being the poor kid at the table so He can take us there? Or are we resentful that we’re in this position and are constantly trying to get to that next level on our own strength? I’ve tried it both ways. Yesterday reminded me that it’s ok to be the poor kid at the table. All I have is from God anyway. When I learn to accept what He gives, I’m really the rich one.