Summary: Not all losses are losses.

INTRO.- Here is the kind of profit that most of us think of.

ILL.- A millionaire was asked how he got rich. He said, “Well, I began by buying peanuts for five cents a bag and selling them for ten cents. I worked long hours and all holidays. However, I didn’t become a millionaire for another five years.”

“What happened?” the man asked. “Well, then my father died and left me a chain of hotels.”

Most of us think about profit in terms of money and material possessions.

Here’s a good way to think about money, however.

ILL.- “Shoe Company Says Ho Ho Ho.” PITTSFIELD, Maine, Dec. 15, 2003. Workers at a shoe plant were feeling more than a little tickled when they got their Christmas bonuses that, for some, totaled nearly $20,000.

Instead of receiving typical end-of-year frozen turkeys, the 200 employees of the SAS Shoemakers plant here were handed envelopes when they were called together Friday afternoon.

When Lawrence Wyman opened his, he found a check for $19,000. His wife, Charlene, got a check for the same amount.

The company this year awarded its employees with bonuses of $1,000 for every year worked at the company. Even those who had worked less than a year got $500 each.

The bonuses were particularly uplifting given that most news in the manufacturing sector this year has been about plants closing and employees being laid off.

"They called us all together and said we would each get $1,000," Lawrence Wyman said. "Everyone started clapping and then they said it would be $1,000 for each year worked."

And that’s when the tears flowed. Some estimated that the bonuses totaled $200,000 or more.

SAS Pittsfield is a division of SAS Shoemakers in San Antonio.

WHAT DO WE SAY TO SOMETHING LIKE THIS? Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord for some generous, giving people!

ILL.- And here’s another. Iowa corn company employees get big bonuses. 12/20/2003. ADEL, Iowa -- Christmas came early for 270 employees at an Iowa corn company.

Harry Stine, founder of Stine Seed Co., told his workers they would get $1,000 for each year they have worked for him. That adds up to a $20,000 bonus for some loyal employees who have worked there for 20 years.

The workers sat in stunned silence after he announced the bonuses following the company’s annual post-harvest luncheon last month.

"He said that we’re a can-do kind of people, that we work in the rain and the mud, and that he just appreciated our hard work," said seven-year employee Kelley Muir, 30.

"All of these people help me every day," Stine said. "So it’s not a be-nice thing. It’s just what should be done."

The average bonus check was $4,000. Again, we say, “Praise the Lord” for some generous people.

Often we think in terms of what we can get out of life rather than what we can give. Some people are thinking about giving. It’s refreshing to see people in the giving mode. And truthfully, this is one of the greatest profits in life.

We know that John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved that He gave…” This is why I say it’s refreshing to see people giving.

And here’s the kind of profit that we should appreciate very much, in fact, more than any.

ILL.- On Saturday, Dec. 19th, 2003, Christina Reeves’ uncle by marriage was buried in Batesville, AR. His widow was in church with us the very next day, that is, Sunday night for our Children’s Christmas program. Her name is Alma Lassiter. Listen to her story. She said that her husband Jim (70 yrs. old) went through horrible suffering until he died. He had acute lymphatic leukemia, a disease with which the doctors only gave him three weeks to live. By the grace of God, however, Jim lived six months. Alma says the reason is because they both praised the Lord for every good thing and every chance they had.

The last 9 ½ weeks of his life (from July 22nd to Sept. 26th) she was with him 24/7, in the hospital and out of the hospital. Three different times while he was in the hospital the doctors said he wasn’t going to make it. She would call friends and family members to ask them to pray and Jim pulled through.

On November 21, 2003, they both were baptized. They were immersed. She said, “It was something that we could do together and it made a big difference in our lives.” They attended a church called “the Journey,” which is an evangelical covenant church.

Through it all they both kept praising the Lord for every good thing!

It is always right to praise the Lord and praising does make a different in a person’s life. Good things happen when we begin to praise the Lord! And Alma told me Sunday night that she was going to testify about the Lord every chance she got.

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