And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. ( Genesis 1:31 KJV)
You can't stop progressing now! You've come a long, long way!
Sometimes when I'm dreaming, I think about putting together the perfect ingredients that will yield a high demand restaurant product such as that of KFC or McDonalds or Red Lobster or IHop etc. So, just yesterday, during some of my spare time, I wanted to prepare something different for my close friends and family who are always happy to taste my new meal inventions and give their reviews whether good or bad.
Having completed my new 'Back n Neck' Delicacy, I took a forty-five second stroll to my Uncle's home smiling with the dish in my hand. When he opened the crate and saw my well prepared delicacy, he closed it, covered his mouth and laughed and laughed and laughed before starting to eat and talk with me. I spent the rest of my night at his home just listening to him.
He said he laughed because it was "Donkey Years," (a Caribbean Term used to express an extended length of time) he had not eaten Back n Necks, and how that was the meal of the day in his time. He continued talking and explained to me that back then, life was hard. Very hard. He shared some startling findings with me that caused me to open my mouth in awe.
My uncle, Pastor St. Clair Archibald Sr. recounted of days when his mom boiled green soursop as a meal. "Fancy tea bags were not the order of the day," he said. "We had to squeeze the juice from the cane into a cup, add water and tea bush in order to get our morning or evening tea."
Pastor Archibald continued. "Many days. Many, many days, sweet potato that had been boiled in its skin made us smile. We ate it without relish." To my utter amazement, he said, "bread wasn't a regular thing for us, but when we got a little piece, we were so happy, even though after eating it, we would feel hungry again shortly after because the little cut never filled us."
My uncle blessed God for the few goats they were able to own. They deprived the kids of the milk from the ewe (their mother), and used it themselves. He said, "I remember those mornings of getting up early to look after the pigs, goat and sheep. We were too poor to own any cattle."
Wanting to know more, I asked. "Uncle St. Clair, what were your living conditions like?" He laughed again and began to speak. "I lived in a thatched house made with sugar cane leaves. The bark from trees were used as strings to tie them together. We used newspaper to decorate the inside of our house and the clammy cherry fruit was used as glue to stick these papers together."
He said, "As poor as nearly everyone was, those days people were content." He smiled to himself and said, "You know Khrystus, there was no electricity, no radio, no television."
Pastor Archibald recounted that his church in Bricklin Nevis, Nevis Baptist was the first to get electricity from a generator that was donated by Calvary Baptist in St. Thomas and the first night it was powered on, the entire village came out to church.
My uncle has reached the age that God has promised each of us. By reason of good health, he lives on. He has now lived to stop mailing missionary letters through the post to emailing them HIMSELF and chatting with fellow ministry colleagues on MSN or Yahoo and Social Media. I stand amazed to see him get all fascinated with some of the latest technological devices. The other day, he brought back a phone from a Missionary trip to the USA and both my brother and I had to go and read the manual so we could show him all of the features.
Although he had to stop from school at age 14 to work at his Uncle's soda factory because his mom fell sick and he didn't have a supporting father, this never kept him from Progressing ONWARD and FORWARD in life.
His challenging start never kept him from pastoring in this order, The Nevis Baptist Mission and Nevis Baptist Church in Nevis, West Indies. Grace Baptist Church, Maranatha Baptist Church and All Saints Baptist Church in Antigua - West Indies. Later The Good News Baptist Church in Dutch St. Maarten and currently The Good News Baptist Church in St. Kitts-West Indies.
This humble man who was forced to leave school at age 14 to make life, was able to study and graduate from Blue Water Bible College in St. Thomas, USVI. This training allowed him to Plant the Maranatha Baptist Church mentioned above, and record scores of broadcasts that still air today on Caribbean Radio Lighthouse 1160 am and 92.3 fm in Antigua. He made many trips with his personal Ministry of Helps where he used his mechanical training to assist churches in repairing and refurbishing their church buses.
When I got home tonight, I couldn't go to bed before penning this devotional. We all have come a long way as a society. As a world. God has truly blessed, delivered and provided. If my uncle and many others made it through the struggles and hard times of yesterday and now bask in the blessings of today, WE WILL TOO. All we have to do is to keep our faith and HOPE high! Things will work out very soon!
Here's a challenge that I throw out to you today. Just like Jesus paused and admired his handy work and stated that it was GOOD, I want you to pause this minute. Stop the complaining and Just Give Thanks for where you've reached thus far and for all you have. Reminisce on the stories you've heard your parents, grand parents and great grand parents or elderly relatives recount and look at how far God has brought you and them today and JUST GIVE THANKS.
We've all come a long way and once we keep on going, we will definitely reach further. You will make it past this temporary trial. You will!