by Michael Holland
My friend Brian build legs and arms for a living. At least, that’s how he helps me understand his profession as a prosthetist. Brian recently told me about one of his patients, an 87-year-old farmer who lost one of his arms in 1965. At first, we talked about what the farmer had missed out on in his life, but Brian quickly turned the conversation to how this guy approached his life with the positive attitude that only a well-seasoned and wise man can exhibit. Brian wondered aloud, “Just how many people do you suppose he impacted every day as he walked through life? Throughout his life, everyone who saw him saw a man living as well as possible with what he had.”
We often get caught up comparing what we have to what others have: where they are in their life as compared to us, how we don’t quite measure up, how our kids need to do this or make this team or get into this college so that we feel we are progressing. Our magic spreadsheet is adjusted as we gain wealth, pushing our financial goals ever higher. Our newly-painted family room reveals how much more of the house we should paint. We don’t realize that our family room likely has more square footage than the entire “homes” of families in a majority of the world.
Andy Stanley says it well: “What you have is less important than what you do with what you have”. We can choose to chase the wind, always comparing ourselves to what we could have and pushing the benchmark or standard to which we compare ourselves higher and higher. Or we can choose to do our best with the resources, talents, relationships, and wisdom we already have, seeking to do as well as possible and finding happiness and contentment within the huge opportunity that God has already provided to each of us.
Be like the 87-year-old, one-armed farmer. Challenge yourself to choose well.