Big Dreams; Little People

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The Munsters: Just your typical American family.

Have you ever sat through one of those Hollywood awards shows in which some aspiring young actress finally receives the recognition she deserves? She excitedly hugs the trophy to her heart, giggles uncontrollably for a few awkward moments, and then recites a long laundry list of the people “who made this all possible”? You know: “I’d like to thank my producer, my agent, my mother, my little brother, the dude who delivered lunch to my dressing room, the…. Blah, blah, blah!” Most of us simply yawn as we lounge in front of our TVs, and perhaps, we even use the time to raid the kitchen for a snack.

We respond this way for a couple of good reasons. Our main excuse is that we don’t personally know any of the people she’s thanking. We’re on the outside, looking in. And we may not be able to to understand the sheer magnitude of her thankfulness, because we never shared in her personal struggles to reach the top. But it’s also possible that we’re missing out on a basic principle of life, which we plan to discuss here.

Ham on Rye.
Ham on Rye.

At the other end of the gratitude spectrum, is the prima donna, who struts to the podium, grabs his award and hoists it skyward in a triumphant gesture that screams “I am the greatest!” He acknowledges no one, and gives no credit where credit is due, because his ego has blinded him to a few vital truths. Sad but true.

Writing this, we’re reminded of an episode of the 1960s TV comedy, The Munsters. During the show, the lead character, Herman — a bumbling but well-meaning parody of Frankenstein’s monster — stumbles into a situation that has the potential to catapult him to “stardom.” In no time at all, Herman has alienated his friends and family, by continuously flaunting his celebrity status. His wife, Lily, starts to worry about what will happen should Herman really make it big in show biz.

“I’d like to thank all the little people…but I can’t.”

In a memorable scene, Lily imagines her husband accepting one of those little gold statuettes at an awards ceremony. He lumbers to the podium, stoops low to speak into the microphone, and says with a smirk on his monstrous mug: “I’d like to thank all the little people who made this award possible. …But I can’t — because I did it all myself!”

No one, since the beginning of time, has ever accomplished anything TOTALLY by themselves. Most of us (whether we realize it or not) benefit from the contributions of countless people: those who came before us, and who accomplished great things; and those who live with us and all around us. The so-called “little people”!

We may not be aware of their contributions to our daily lives, and when we finally fulfill our dreams, achieve a goal or succeed in a venture, we may not realize just how much we owe the world at large for helping us to make it to the top of the heap.

We don’t operate in a vacuum. Sometimes, however, it does seem as though friends and family have abandoned us as we doggedly pursue our dreams; as though time, circumstances, and the whole world is working against us. But there is a grand principle of cause and effect at work on this spinning blue marble of ours; and every person we meet — good, bad, helpful or obstinate — is a piece of this bigger reality. And every one of them, either directly or indirectly, touches the lives of us all. This is how the God of the Universe effects change in our society.

Land of the Giants: an idea that only works in science fiction!

It’s one of the simple truths we need to know in order to maintain a positive, loving and hopeful perspective on life, and in order to get things done. Another, related truth: there are NO “little people” — only oversized egos. Everyone counts. Every effort, every opinion, every link in the chain of life matters. And adopting this attitude can actually help you to succeed. Humility and gratitude are traits that foster cooperation — and as we stated, no one really gets anywhere without a helping hand.

Let us all remember: to respect and appreciate even the smallest contributions from — seemingly — the most insignificant sources; to stay humble with every achievement, understanding that we had countless unseen helping hands; to constantly encourage and facilitate the work of others, knowing that we, too, whether directly or indirectly, are benefitting from the actions of millions of interconnected lives. Help us, Lord, to realize, whether we’ve arrived or we’re still struggling to get there, that no one ever makes it alone.

“…The King will say … ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” (Matthew 25:34-36, 40 NLT)

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Better Together (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Ever notice how certain foods work really well together? Like bread and butter. Rice and beans. Cream and sugar. Biscuits and gravy. Peaches and cream. Salt and pepper. Lettuce and tomatoes. Mac and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly. We call these delectable duos “palatable pairings”! We’ve only listed a few, but our list could on and on. And we’ve probably started you thinking about a few of your own favorite culinary couplings.

We can do this if we work together! We can unite to make an awesome snack!

Although any of the items listed above can stand alone, although each one has individual value and can fill a need all by itself, bringing two of them together greatly increases the appeal and value. Peanut butter is a good source of protein, but it can be a little dry and a little blah. Jelly is fruity and sweet, but it’s not very filling. Either one works well as a sandwich spread, but just ask any kid: mix the two and you have a nutritional sandwich that tastes like a snack! Because these two foodstuffs are BETTER TOGETHER!

Bet you already guessed this kitchen wisdom: there are tons of examples of things in life that work well together. Spices, such as brown sugar and cinnamon. Foods, such as apple pie and vanilla ice cream. Comedy teams, such as Abbot and Costello, or Laurel and Hardy.  Musical duos, such as Donny and Marie, the Righteous Brothers, or Simon and Garfunkel. (And by the way, did Art Garfunkel ever do anything noteworthy while he was on his own? Just curious.) And PEOPLE can work together to do great things. You, us, and them too.

No one is an island. God created people to be relational beings: to have interaction with Him, obviously, but also to interact with those around us. “…The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.'” (Genesis 2:18 HCSB) Although this verse relates to marriage, the first institution God created (which we’ll examine in a future post), its wisdom applies to ALL relationships.

The Bible is full of relationships. Actually, it’s all about relationships. And it’s THE Book of God’s relationship to us! God knows us better than anyone, and what He knows is that WE NEED RELATIONSHIPS. Every human being has a basic need and desitre to love and be loved, to share, to communicate, to socialize. Even the grumpiest, seemingly most unapproachable person needs to talk to someone! Perhaps that’s why social media is so popular today.

Two people working together are better able to achieve their goals and realize their dreams, because there is power in two people who are mutually supportive and accountable; two people who can encourage and assist each other. That’s what the “buddy system” is all about. That’s why there are support groups such as AA, and mentoring groups such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters. That’s why a prayer partner can help keep us tuned in to God. And why corporations hope you have a “best friend” at work. Such connections make work more bearable, and life more enjoyable.

Please don’t face life alone. “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT)

“…One person (can) chase a thousand … (but) two people put ten
thousand to flight….” 
(Deuteronomy 32:30 NLT)

So find a friend, whether online, on the job, at church, or next door. And never forget that the Lord also longs to partner with you in every endeavor. He’s “… a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 NIV)

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