“Weather Good for Cotton, Bad for Us.” That was the headline of the article that I read about the hot summer weather and its effect on people and crops. The writer added, “I get some satisfaction from knowing our cotton crop benefits from hot weather with scattered showers. However, it has been difficult for me to think about all the good cotton weather when this old man is suffering from the heat.”

That’s one of the problems that we face. Every time the weather is right for us it is bad for someone else. Cotton loves hot, dry weather. Most folks do not. That is the way it is with a lot of life. What’s good for you is often bad for someone else.

A man told about growing up in a Midwestern town, which was going through a bad drought one summer. The farmers’ crops were hurting. During this time, a carnival was scheduled for the town square one weekend, and the boy was looking forward to it. On Friday evening, he went to the carnival with his family. Just as they were getting out of the car, rain began falling. The rain fell for an hour, and they had to turn around and go home. The boy was griping about the weather to his father. His father replied, “Son, don’t ever begrudge swapping a two-bit carnival for a million- dollar rain.” What was bad for the boy was exceptionally good for the farmers.

Some folks try to get God involved in athletic contests. They make the sign of the cross before shooting a free throw or point in God’s direction when they score a touchdown. I like that when they are on my team, but I have noticed that I am a little resentful when they are members of the opposing team. What is good for their team is bad for mine.

This concern for what is best for us, but which shows little concern for what is best for others, extends to many areas. I often tell people that they can mark it down that what is not very meaningful to them in a worship service is the most meaningful part of the service to someone else. The same principle applies to the level of the sound system and the setting of the thermostat on the air conditioner in the church sanctuary.

We ought to be concerned about what is best for others as well as what is best for us. This needs to be reflected in our prayers. Nelson Mink once prayed this prayer: “Lord, I don’t expect everything to be pleasing to me. I am willing to receive what You give, to lack what You withhold, to relinquish what You take, to suffer what You inflict, and to be what You require.” It’s a prayer that all of us would do well to pray.

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor, supply preacher and author who lives in Oxford. He can be reached at

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