If Christ is truly in us, then we will see everyone we meet as someone to whom we owe a debt of love. Every person is sent into our life to receive comfort, strength, inspiration, a touch of beauty, a bit of cheer, or a quiet benediction. We may never do one thing which the world would consider great, or report in the news, but every word we speak, every act, every influence we have “in his name,” will be ministry of love which could last a lifetime — and beyond.
We all need sympathy, kindness, smiles, fellowship, and a thousand other little acts of love as we travel along the dusty roads of life. These are the little acts of friendship which brighten every life. It is some of the daily bread which our heart longs for. More than great gifts, what strengthens our being is the inspiration, comfort, hope, and smiles seen on the face of a friend.
The old preachers used to say that we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and give account of our lives. If so, then we will not just defend the wrongs, the mistakes, and the bad decisions, but also the lost years, the discarded moments, and the times we wasted. God gave us gifts to use on his behalf, not to use them or work to develop them further, is to say you have no use for what God has provided.
Read the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30 or Luke 19:12-28; especially the end: “to everyone who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
“It is not the want of love for which we are to be blamed, but the penuriousness that locks up love and will not give it out” -J. R. Miller
We learn very well the art of keeping quiet — never giving voice to the kind and gentle words which we are thinking. Words of love, grace, and appreciation which were never given voice in life, are poured over the deceased at a funeral. How much better it would be if we were more generous with our good words so those we care about will be cheered and blessed.
The mistakes we make, the wrongs we commit, are more often devastating to ourselves then they are to other people. But when we admit them to Christ, he can give birth to a new life inside of us. Christ can cause our misdeeds to yield blessings, and our misbehavior to be stepping stones on which a better life is reached. This is one of the true mysteries of grace, it can make all things work together for good.
No doubt, it is easier to see other people’s faults than it is our own. We tend to be much more troubled about the way our neighbor is living than we are ourselves. Our friends are held to a higher standard than self.
But the truth is, we will not stand before God and be called to answer for the actions of others. There is only one person for whose every act, word, feeling, and character we will have to give account — that person is self. Most of us would probably find little time to look at other people’s faults if we spent more time taking care of our own.
It is not a true act of the faith to have compassion for people in far away countries, and then disregard the person next door. The true Christian is the one who forgets self in his or her own neighborhood. The same sweet, patient spirit of Christ is carried wherever the person goes. The hands are gentle as an angels, and forever reaching out with a blessing. Words are filled with sympathy and tenderness, carrying comfort to the sad, courage to the faint, and life to the beaten down.
To be selfish toward the person next door is to disfigure the divine beauty of Christ within, and to be a living contradiction.
The Bible never promises grace in advance of need. God does not give strength for a battle while there is peace and the battle is in the future. But when conflict comes, then strength will be given.
God did not divide the Jordan until the Israelites stood on the shore needing to cross. This is a constant law of divine help. As we come to the need, the supply is ready. Too many people worry because they cannot see the way open or the need supplied in advance. It will be so when it is needed.
A life does not need to be great in order to be beautiful. There may be as much beauty in a tiny flower as there is in a majestic tree; a small gem can be just as great as an entire mountain; or the littlest animal as delightful as the mightiest of elephants. A life may be very beautiful and yet very insignificant — in the world’s eyes. But a beautiful life is one which fulfills its mission in this world — becomes what God made it to be, and does what God made it to do.
The smallest life that fills its place well, is far lovelier in God’s sight than the largest life which fails at its divine mission.
To read about the life and the death of Jesus is to see a life at peace. Christ was at peace with who He was, what He did, and even His own death. How was such a life of peace obtained? It resulted from doing the Father’s will.
Such is the case for any Christian. Peace in life and in death can only be had from following the Fathers will.