Rolling Papers

Weekly Blog – November 19, 2019

Rolling Papers – Psalm 46:1

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

I genuinely believe that through all of the years of my life God has been with me. Even when I didn’t go to church, even when I didn’t pray, read the Bible, go to Bible studies, or serve others as His Son Jesus did.

I also believe God has tested myself and my family many times, both as my time as a marginal Christian and a born again believer. There have been financial tests, which He has always brought me through, physical tests, and even family strength tests.

Let me tell you about one such test that I actually posted on
Facebook several years ago. I call it the Rolling Papers test.

It was 35 years ago this month that Kathy and I rolled 2000 local newspapers.

The back story … I had lost my job in the retail food industry, in May of 1984, and money was tight.

I wa now working at a local paper selling advertising.

I didn’t make much money, but it kept food on the table. One of the guys who delivered the papers every Wednesday evening, Chuck, asked me if I’d be interested in making some extra money. I told him sure, depending on what it was I had to do.

He told me that he was looking for someone to wrap newspapers for him, and it was 2000 Papers every Tuesday.  I figured, how hard can it be, and told him okay, Kathy and I would do it.

It was election night, and Regan was running for his second term.

So Chuck, the newspaper delivery guy, dropped off the papers and showed me how to wrap them. Wrapping a newspaper involved, rolling the paper, putting in a plastic bag and then placing a rubber band around the bag, I wrapped a few with him and said to myself, “This is easy, we’ll be done in a few hours.”

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Rolling 2000 local papers, is this hard. Kathy got home at 5, and we dug in. We only took 15 minutes for dinner. The election was well over by 10 pm, but not us.

No, we finished up at 1 am.

Did I mention how much Chuck paid us for rolling those 2000 papers? Wait for it … $35.00.

If my math is correct, we made 1.75 cents per paper or $4.37 per hour. Of course back then $35 was 2 tanks full of gas.

In life, you do what ya gotta do to get by.

BTW we eventually got it down to 4 1/2 hours to wrap the papers. A few months later, I got back into the retail food industry, and we stopped wrapping papers.

So when everyone else is thinking, Republican /Democrat on Election Day, Kathy and I look and each other roll our eyes and say, “newspapers!”

You might ask, “Joe, how was rolling 2000 papers a test from God?” My reply to that question would be in several parts. First God definitely tests us. He tests us to grow stronger, to endure hardships and to show our love for Him. He does this to prepare us for other things.

I mentioned several months after the paper rolling adventure, I got a job back in the retail food industry, where I had worked all of my life. It was a good job, paid well, I was promoted to sales manager within a year. Three years after the paper rolling adventure, Kathy and I adopted our daughter Heather, and three months after that, we came back to the church, and we’ve never looked back. Oh, and one more thing, five years later, I began my adventure in youth ministry, which lasted for 25 years till I retired.

Now, I’m not saying that the rolling paper adventure Kathy and I had, prepared us for all of the things I just mentioned. But, it did give me a better handle on being responsible, working hard, long hours, being humble, and doing what you have to do to take care of your family.

These lessons learned, God used them to grow our family and bring us not only back to His church, but for me to be a full-time worker for Him.

Does God test us? Absolutely! Does God use the tests He gives us to help us grow? Yes! His tests make us stronger and better people who can serve Him and others to the fullest.

Blessings on your day

Joe Guagliardo (Joe G)

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