Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Our Sense of Worth

It was a windy, autumn afternoon 23 years ago. I was raking up sycamore leaves with my dad in the backyard. He was already feeling the effects of a cancerous tumor in his left shoulder. Lightning bolts of pain streaked down his arm, making it hang useless at his side. With his good arm he pulled a lawn chair up alongside the pile I was raking together, sat down, and held out a trash bag. He held one side with his good hand. I held the other side and tried to dump the rake-full of leaves into the bag, but they tumbled down both sides of the bag, instead of going in. Dad got really frustrated and went inside.

I finished up and came in a few minutes later. I found him sitting on the stairs, crying in frustration. Now understand, my dad was German -- more like a German Vulcan. He never showed emotion. But this time he glanced up at me, shook his head, and growled, "I'm no good for anything! I can't even hold a trash bag open!"

Since that afternoon I have encountered many men who felt the same way. These are guys who spent their whole lives taking care of their home, their yard, their work, their family -- but because of sickness or age they were no longer able -- and felt utterly useless, imposing a terrible burden on their wife and family.

I especially remember Percy. He was looking out the window, shaking his head as he watched his wife, struggling with the big feed bags for the handful of cattle they still had left. He was suffering from heart disease, and the doctor told him he couldn't lift anything heavier than a pair of shoes.

We discussed how Jesus grew too weak to carry His cross, and how He received the help of a strong, young man named Simon of Cyrene. We talked about how Jesus died in weakness, but was raised in power -- just as Percy and my father's bodies will be raised in glory and power when Jesus comes again -- never to grow old, weak and frail again.

In two months we'll be holding our third annual Men's NetWork WORK DAY. Over the last two years, guys have told us how good it felt to make a difference for neighborhood widows and single mothers -- women who needed simple chores done but couldn't afford to pay for them or manage the work themselves.

But I'd also encourage you not to forget the elderly guys in your community, maybe even your next-door neighbor, who silently despises himself and feels utterly worthless because he's too frail or too sick to take care of things around the house or yard. Many such guys have things they can still do -- but only if a stronger, younger guy can give them some help first. Maybe you know a guy who can plant, cultivate and harvest a garden -- but only if someone will run a tiller through it first.

It's not too late to register for the WORK DAY. Not only will you get the satisfaction of helping someone -- just like Simon helped Jesus -- you may even get the chance to share the comfort of Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection with them.

And that would be a good thing indeed.

Any thoughts on what it means to grow older and, perhaps, less able than you used to be? If so, take a minute and share your thoughts by clicking here.

To see what the Men's NetWork WORK DAY is all about, click here to get the details.

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