Lifting or Leaning
Make no mistake about it, you were a label! Your society, the people about you, have given you one. Labels are like nicknames, they are not meant to be harmful, nor are they meant to remain for a lifetime, but they often do!
It seems that our friends, and often our enemies, have a way of categorizing people, none of us are exempt; we are Good or Bad, Rich or Poor, Liberal or Conservative, Stingy or Generous, Fat or Lean, the list goes on. Most often you never hear some of the labels you wear, they are whispered behind the hand and into the ears of others.
There is another group we often hear about these days, we call them Lifters or Learners! They can be spotted in ever segment of our society, in the workplace, in our government, even in our churches. We should be thankful that in most instances, there are more Lifters than Leaners. In the Bible, Jesus tells the story about a man who had been beaten and robbed and left to die by the roadside. Fortunately for him, a Lifter came by and ministered to his needs. Lifters are the people that go beyond what duty requires of them, but are willing to go beyond what duty demands.
Are you a Lifter or a Leaner? I thank by Lord daily for the Lifters I have known; I would never have made it this far on my journey through life without them. I am thankful for those who have said, “Lean on me,” without them, I would have been left behind! I suppose there are times when we have all been in that category, but with a little help we were able to move on to become Lifters.
Recently, I watched a group on TV who had chosen to be Leaners! They unashamedly admitted they were professional beggars by choice! One boasted of the expensive clothing she was wearing, and said that only by begging could she afford them! That person had learned that Leaning was a profitable way of life. She said that in one hour, standing on a street corner, she could beg more than she could earn in a full day of work!
Some folk say that our government has helped to create a large group off Leaners by giving them more money to work than they could earn by working! It would seem that being unemployed is a profitable way of life. I recently heard a man say that he went to an Unemployment Office in an effort to find a job. HE said he told he person not to offer him any job that paid less than ten dollars an hour! I thought, “If you get hungry enough you would work for less and be glad to get it!” That person had learned that by Leaning on the government for help was more profitable that to work!
I suppose that Learners, for whatever reason, deserve some sympathy. They are missing out on the joy and blessedness that belongs only to those who go about lifting the burdens that fall upon others. Those who say to those who are struggling though no fault of their own, “You can lean on me!”
In the story about the man who had been beaten and robbed, then left to die, one can only imagine the joy that one who gave him help must have felt as he journeyed on his way that day.
Are you a Lifter or a Leaner? A few lines from an unknown poet might be appropriate:
Did you give him a lift?
He is a brother of mine,
and bearing about all the burden he can!
Did you give him a smile?
He was downcast and blue,
and the smile might have helped him to battle it through.
Don’t you know it is part of brother of man,
to find what the grief is, and help if you can?
Did you stop when he asked you to give him a lift?
Or were you too busy, you just let him drift.
O, I know what you meant, what you say may be true,
but the test of your character is…
What did you do?
Mr. Shepard is a native of Darlington, S.C., and a current resident of Piedmont, S.C. and author of “Mill Town Boy” and “Bruised”. He has been sharing his tales of growing up in Darlington for decades, and we are delighted to share them each week.
The mailing address for cards and letters is:
324 Sunny Lane
Piedmont, S.C., 29673.