needed: lights in the darkness
“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any
kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow
being, let me do it now, as I shall not pass this way again.”
(Attributed to William Penn but Steven Grellet is the actual author.)
Bombarded by media accounts of both natural and man-made disasters resulting in human misery, we often must strain to catch glimpses of blessings in our midst. Yet we know that they are there even though at times we experience moments of spiritual blindness. Scripture tells us that often it is easier to curse the darkness rather than to light a candle! Scripture also reminds us numerous times that we are to be the light of the world. How seriously do we accept these challenges?
A story is told about Mohandas Gandhi, the great Indian statesman and spiritual leader noted for his unusual humanity and selflessness. As he was boarding a train one day with a number of companions and followers, one of his sandals fell off and disappeared in the gap between the train and the platform. Unable to retrieve it, when the train started moving, he quickly took off his other sandal and threw it down by the first. Responding to the puzzlement of onlookers, Gandhi explained that a poor person who found a single sandal was no better off than he was before; but what would really be of help would be finding a pair.
This sensitivity to the impact of an act towards others reflects God’s will for our lives. As important as it may be to appreciate these events, it is imperative that we recognize our obligation to bless others through bestowing kind words and deeds (Matthew 5:44; I Peter 3:9).
A recent book, “How Full is Your Bucket,” describes one method of bringing cheer into the lives of others. Their book is based on the idea that each of us has an invisible bucket. We are happiest when our bucket is full or overflowing and unhappy when our bucket is being emptied. The authors suggest a simple procedure of using the Internet to pass along uplifting messages to others. The authors’ suggested method of sending elevating messages could be easily duplicated with note cards. Consider what joy could be delivered to someone for the price of a first-class stamp!
Obviously, the same technique could be used through our oral comments to others but often the written word has greater and longer impact than spoken ones. The old maxim, “Actions speak louder than words” is often validated by our acts of kindness. These actions may be a simple as a smile or anything that adds pleasure to another person’s day.
Although it feels good to do something for someone, likewise it feels good when someone does something kind for us. It’s a win-win situation either way and both parties end up as winners. This also fulfills the scriptural command: “For we are what He made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life” (Ephesians 2:10 NRSV).
“ Lord, let Your light so shine in me that I reflect Your presence
in my life through all my words and deeds as I pass through this
day and every day.” Amen