Saturday, December 3, 2011

Enough is Enough

"If we have food and clothing, 
we will be content with that"
1 Timothy 6:8

Do you know the name Johann Olav Koss?
Photo credit:
You'll probably have to go several years back in your memory.  He became famous to the world in the Lillehammer Winter Olympics in 1994.  He was famous in Norway long before that, I'm sure.  They do love their winter Olympians over there...  He became famous not only for winning three gold medals in speed skating, but also for donating his $30,000 in bonus money to a charity called Olympic Aid.  His example led Norwegians and like-minded givers worldwide, to donate money and sports equipment to the children of Eritrea.  

I remember him from the Olympics, but I had forgotten about him until I read about all the good that he is still doing for that country.   It was an article in Sports Illustrated, and it was telling about when Koss first visited Eritrea. He was surrounded by children, one of whom, according to Sports Illustrated, "claimed elevated status" over the rest of the children.  When Koss asked why, he was told it was because that boy had a long-sleeved shirt on.  He was the only child that did.  I was struck by this.  In a culture where everyone has so little, is there really such a sense of materialism?  I can understand young kids in our culture, struggling with the temptation to have more or better than others.  With all the advertisements and product placement our kids are subjected to at a very young age, "keeping up the Joneses" strikes earlier all the time.  But I was saddened to think that it's that way in such a very poor place, where the people don't have much of anything.

Koss, on the other hand, was confused.  Why would having a long-sleeved shirt be a good thing, in Africa??  Says Koss:  "They were laughing at me.  Then the boy took off his shirt.  The sleeves turned into knots, the shirt became a ball, and off they went to play soccer.   If that boy wasn't there, they didn't play soccer."

Well I couldn't believe the difference in how I was feeling.  That boy wasn't there to brag that he had better clothes than his friends, he was there to share what he had.  And indeed, there was no sense of materialism, there was joy and fun and friends.  All made possible by a long-sleeved shirt.  That, my friends, is being grateful and resourceful with what God has given you.  I was touched by that boy, and by Koss' determination to get those kids real soccer balls ~ which he did.

There's something beautiful about a little being sufficient.  It's what God expects of us ~ to trust Him for what we need, and not want for more.  Then, when He blesses us with more, we'll be that much more grateful.

~ "the Almighty, who blesses you 
with blessings of the skies above, 
blessings of the deep springs below" ~
Genesis 49:25

No comments:

Post a Comment