Don’t You Have An Old Man Living In Your Little House? – Day 14

2 Corinthians 16-17 – Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 

My childhood home was a very small farm that had been built in the mid 1800’s. There were various animal shelters and several outbuildings including a summer kitchen, smokehouse and servant’s quarters. It is still strange to me that we lived on such meager means in a home that previously had servants. When my parents purchased the home, they contracted with the previous owner to allow one of their former employees to live out his remaining years in the servant’s quarters. We had always referred to his home as “the little house”. I now understand that those were odd circumstances, but I remember being confused when my fellow kindergartners insisted that they didn’t have an old man living in their little house. I had wrongly assumed everyone did.

We knew him only as Mr. Sidney, never knowing his first name or much about his life and family. He was an elderly Philippine man, very slim with care-worn features and a stature bent crooked from years of challenging farm labor. He was nearly blind and his hearing was failing. He had great difficulty with walking and moved slow and cautiously, shuffling his feet and planting his wooden cane ahead of each step. His Philippine accent was strong and a gentle kindness saturated every word.

The little house wasn’t equipped with plumbing or electric heat. Mr. Sidney used a chamber pot and a wood stove. My elder brothers would assist in maintaining the fire in the stove in the colder months, but Mr. Sidney did all he could to retain his independence. My parents were not nurturing toward him, doing only what was necessary to honor the contract. Mr. Sidney didn’t join us for meals and wasn’t offered the convenience of an indoor bath. He ate plain bread and raw vegetables from the garden. Any family and friends had passed or moved on. When offered something he was humble and gracious. He had no income, only change that he’d harbored from past wages. He would give me nickels for retrieving something from the garden or making a successful tricycle ride across the front porch. He called me Miracle or his Precious Angel. I clung to those words of endearment, never hearing them elsewhere. There was little affection in our home and even less extended to Mr. Sidney.

Today, it is hard for me to imagine anyone living in such conditions, especially for more than 20 years as he unexpectedly lived into his 100’s. Still, Mr. Sidney never complained nor asked for better. Instead he had a warmth and genuine love that were beyond explanation. Clearly there was something in Mr. Sidney that defied his natural surroundings and filled him with hope and contentment. In the years that we were honored to know him, his benevolence toward us only grew stronger while his physical being became increasingly frail. At 5 years old I couldn’t know how Mr. Sidney knew God, but I could sense Christ in him. The Bible kept under his bed tells me the story now.

Mr. Sidney has come to mind many times recently. I catch myself complaining about pain, limitations, and the material things I don’t possess. I crave Mr. Sidney’s heart. I have so much more, yet I’m still prone to discouragement. I’m gratefully amazed at how God can use odd circumstances from so long ago to speak to me vividly in my walk today. I see how contentment comes from daily renewal. I also carry the hope of seeing Mr. Sidney again in his heavenly mansion instead of a cold little house.

Prayer: Father God, I surrender my heart to Your inner renewal every day. I step out in faith to grow beyond my worldly tendency for discontent and hold to Your promise to complete a work in me.


In Jesus’ name, Amen.

– Melissa Myers