"It's Only Lunchmeat"

He was a large fella, big and tall. He leaned both elbows on the deli counter and said to the woman who was serving him, “If it’s closer to ¾ of a pound, that’s OK. I heard that folks will give you a hard time if you cut more than they ask for.” The woman behind the counter agreed. “It’s only lunchmeat.”

Leslie and I were coordinating cars. One car needed to go to the mechanic. We’ve had a few car bills recently and the money is adding up. Leslie was the slightest bit stressed. On her way to work she was brooding about the cars when she grabbed herself a bit piece of reality pie. Concerning the repairs for our cars, plural; she thought, “This is a first-world problem.” She didn’t add but I did later, “which means that it isn’t much of a problem.”

        It’s only lunchmeat.   

        It’s a first-world problem.

I’m fairly certain that any of the countless refugees from Syria would swap my problems/our problems for theirs any day of the week. Isn’t it easy to lose perspective? Isn’t it easy to think that our problems are the world’s worst. Sometimes they are . . . unexpected or accidental deaths, a cancer diagnosis, or being on the receiving end of violence. These are some real problems. A few ounces of lunchmeat isn’t a problem; nor is getting a car repaired, not when I have another one in the driveway.

            Here’s some perspective from the wonderful Extending the Table . . . A World Community Cookbook.

 The recipes [from this book] also tell a story about health. In much of the affluent world today—where people eat more than they need, ride more than they walk, and where stress levels are high—fat and cholesterol are a curse. They contribute to heart disease, a leading cause of death.

 In contrast, fat and oil still represent health and prosperity in less affluent areas of the world. They are welcome flavoring agents and energy-producing components for people whose feet are their primary means of transportation, whose work involves vigorous physical labor, and whose meager incomes afford meat and other rich foods only on rare occasions. For them, a glistening ring of floating oil indicates the richness of a stew.

For the Christian, perspective doesn’t require guilt but gratitude. Perspective should bring generosity and gladness. Thank God for what you have and as God has lavishly poured endless blessings into your life make sure you give in kind.