The Haves & The Have Nots


Disclaimer: Today's piece has nothing to do with Tyler and dem. Honestly, I've never even watched the show. Now that that's out of the way let's get to it.


I remember hearing a phrase not long ago, though I can't recall where—it was said. 'People don't want purpose; they want prizes.' As I pondered that thought, I couldn't help but look over my life and think of the motivation behind many of my so-called goals. There was no surprise there; it was more about me reaping benefits rather than pursuing the reason I was destined.


For a long time, I wanted to be successful, not to reach back and help someone get where I was, but it was more about obtaining a status to prove the doubters wrong. I wanted to be able to say, "Yea, look at me, I made it!" I'll tell ya, these past few years have highlighted just how skewed my view on so many things has been. It showed me just how much the posture of my heart was tainted.


Every now and then, I have a memory of an incident that either shifted me when it happened or shifted me in the thought process. I've since graduated high school some 24 years now, and when this memory came to me the other day, it reminded me of so many other mishaps I'd experienced. Of course, it was amidst a small pity party, nothing too lavish—the usually 'whoa is me' festivity. However, the memory served as a much-needed reminder.



The year was perhaps 1995 thereabout, and physical education was the bane of my high school existence. I was a chubby kid with not one ounce of athleticism in her bones—never did and still don't. I'm what the blueprint of zero hand-eye coordination looks like.


Alas, the task was once around the field. Three classes were combined for this period, roughly 90 students, give or take. Sigh, you already know there was a disaster brewing.


"On your mark, get set, go!" the coach shouted. And we're off. One by one, everyone passed me. I mean, kids were near the finish line, and I wasn't even a quarter of the way through. Seriously, I was undoubtedly doing my best, and still, I was coming in hot last. Yay, me!


The two people behind me were about to take me over on the home stretch and not to be left behind; I tried to push the limit. I mean, with all my might, ya girl thought she was burning rubber, but the lie detector determined this was a lie.


All I remember feeling was my legs disappear beneath me and my face hitting the ground seemed to go in slow motion. In an effort to brace my fall, the palms of my hands were bruised, and the weight of my body had them feeling out of sorts. Then in the distance came the eruption of laughter. I simply wanted to die. Earth open now and swallow me, please. Save one person of the 90 that came to help me up—I had resolved in my mind not to move. More so than my body, my pride was wounded. This, for sure, would be one of the stories that people laughed at during the reunion. Great, just great!


Why God had reminded me of that moment, at the moment, was not immediately apparent, but as the days went on, there were so many nuggets I began to pull from the incident.

  1. Run your race at your pace

  2. Everyone can't finish first

  3. Even if you're last, the point is to finish

  4. Running with the herd doesn't mean the pack is running with you

  5. The truth is you might fall, but you shouldn't stay down

  6. Running a race at a pace you've never trained for can result in injury.

  7. You won't, no matter how you try to blend in when you have been created to stand out.


Isn't life like that, though, a series of events that help to shape us? The only difference is some people let tragedy shape them, and others let tragedy scar them. It's the same with gifts; we've all been given them. However, all of us never use them to their full extent.



Story after story in the Bible, we see how one person looked crazy for going against the grain. Noah, Lot, David versus a giant. Samson against hundreds, all the Prophets, Mary, the mother of Jesus, Joseph for believing her. All the Disciples—I mean, really, who's preaching in the face of physical persecution and death? The have nots of the Bible, just as now, will always outweigh the haves if one's perspective is lopsided.


I soon learned that having is predicated chiefly on whose hand a thing is in. Some years ago, I had read this piece, and today I want to remind you of these truths:




A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.

A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million.

It depends on whose hands it's in.

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.

A baseball in Mark McGwire's hands is worth about $19 million.

It depends on whose hands it's in.

A tennis racket is useless in my hands.

A tennis racket in Venus Williams' hands is a Wimbledon Championship.

It depends on whose hands it's in.

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal.

A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea.

It depends on whose hands it's in.

A slingshot in my hands is a kid's toy.

A slingshot in David's hands is a mighty weapon.

It depends on whose hands it's in.

Two fish and five loaves of bread in my hands are a couple of fish sandwiches.

Two fish and five loaves of bread in God's hands will feed thousands.

It depends on whose hands it's in.

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.

Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will produce salvation for the entire world.

It depends on whose hands it's in.

As you see now, anything can be significant. It's a matter of who handles it. In my hands alone, it's proven that I am an expert at making a mess. It wasn't until I put my concerns, worries, fears, hopes, dreams, family, and relationships in the hands of the Master Builder that anything I touched started to make sense. Paul reminds us in Ephesians:



Now unto him, that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (Ephesians 3:20 KJV)



The thing is, many of us are trying to conjure gifts in and of ourselves. We can't. We are trying to capitalize on skills before they've been processed. We are focused on the return on assets before we've conquered how to minimize liability.




Every gift won't be for glitz or glamour. That does not mean the gift is not vital or necessary. Everyone looks down on the garbage man until your trash hasn't been picked up in weeks. You don't think flipping burgers is funny until you can't get a server at McDonald's. The maid job isn't sought after, but it's evident she's missing when you walk into an overpriced but dirty hotel room. That thing about you that you've allowed folks to downplay is needed and necessary—believe that.



It's sometimes a hard pill to swallow, but the premise of the Bible isn't to teach us to give in order to get. But more so that we get so that we may give. During this season, it's hard not to see or compare ourselves to the standard of what is around us. But what one person is doing in their lane will never determine your outcome.

Running was not my forte. It wasn't then, and it isn't now. But I've learned to stride at my pace, and the more I do it, the more I build endurance and longevity. I'm by no means bringing home a gold medal to my country, but my contribution is just different and equally as needed. Life might bruise you, and you may get embarrassed, but trying to rush your process will only end in further pain. Had I stayed at a pace I could handle, I would not have hit the ground. Though I may have been last, I would have finished less scathed.

It depends on whose hands it's in, will forever determine who has and who doesn't. So today, I ask you, what's in your hand and what do you intend to do with it? Better yet, with what you are given, can it be multiplied, or will it be hidden? I know scripture tells us that we have not because we ask not, but dare I say to you today that you have not because you 'do' not. #nocap


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