As I am writing this article, I am in a most reflective mood and mental temperament. I am pondering many things that are occurring or that have occurred in my life over the last several decades. I am, if you will, stepping back to view “the big picture” of my life and its purpose. I am performing some most personal and honest self examination.
I believe it is a good thing to evaluate your own life’s productivity from time to time, just to keep one on the path of their own choice. Being a little “off-course” at the beginning of a journey can and will cause one to be “way-off-course” at the journey’s end. To miss the mark and not know why you are missing it, forces one to be unable to make corrections so as to hit the target at which he or she is aiming. Life experiences are the mile markers which tell the traveller where he is and whether or not he is on course at any given point in time. Failure on the part of the traveller, whenever he drifts off course, to correct his course and get back on track guarantees he or she will not wind up where it is that they truly desire to go. Missing the mark by accident is one thing, but missing it by neglect or inattentiveness to detail is quite another. I would remind all readers and/or listeners that the real rewards of accomplishment are awarded at the finish line, not necessarily during the race. Commitment and perseverance are the mainstays of the individual character of those participating in the journey…in the race. Failure to complete the journey, regardless of reason or cause, is the only sure-fire way to guarantee complete failure in the entire race.
Kindness of thoughts, words, actions, and deeds on the part of the performer is a most important ingredient to the overall success of the competitor, regardless of the chosen field of endeavor. Kindness demonstrated by the performer is always noticed and remembered by all of those people who witness it. Kindness to all who are encountered as life is being lived by each and everyone of the participants as it relates to any life journey,…always stands out, always is openly high-lighted, always is brilliantly displayed; consequently it is totally remembered by any and all who observe and receive it.
Listen carefully to what God Almighty has to say about LOVE as is recorded in the Holy Bible, in the Book of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 1—13 NCV:
Love is the Greatest Gift
(1) “And now I will show you the best way of all. I may speak in different languages of people or even angels. But if I do not have love, I am only a noisy bell or a crashing cymbal.
(2) I may have the gift of prophecy. I may understand all the
secret things of God and have all knowledge, and I may have
faith so great I can move mountains. But even with all these
things, if I do not have love, then I am nothing.
(3) I may give away everything I have, and I may even give
my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing if I do
not have love.
(4) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not
brag, and it is not proud.
(5) Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and does not get upset
with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been
(6) Love is not happy with evil but is happy with truth.
(7) Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always
hopes, and always remains strong.
(8) Love never ends. There are gifts of prophecy, but they will
be ended. There are gifts of speaking in different languages,
but those gifts will stop. There is the gift of knowledge, but it
will come to an end.
(9) The reason is that our knowledge and our ability to
prophesy are not perfect.
(10) But when perfection comes, the things that are not perfect
(11) When I was child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I stopped
those childish ways.
(12) It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if
we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly.
Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God
has known me.
(13) So these three things continue forever: Faith, hope, and
love. And the greatest of these is love.”
Poet, Paul Tanksley, once penned the truth when he wrote:
“Bouquets we give in love
Impart to hands and fingers,
For hours and for days,
A fragrance rare that lingers.
Bouquets of roses perish,
But every “kind” word given
Will cling to him who gave it,
With fragrance reaching heaven.”
You see, my friends, the truth of the matter is simple:
You may give without loving, but you simply cannot love without giving.
The same poet, penned another poem that gives the short and simple truth:
“To love is to give,
And loving means giving.
And giving is the key
To abundant living.
Life is a door
And Christ is the keeper
Who opens the door
To loving still deeper.”
The great Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer of the New York Pen League, Kahil Gilbran, (1883—1931) once boldly stated:
“You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
Gifts are freely given to all of us by our Creator, God Almighty. He only asks that we study, search, and actually find those gifts He has freely given us. Once found, we are to use those gifts for their divinely desired and designed use and purpose. A gift, any gift, is really not a gift at all unless and until it is accepted by the recipient. The absolute value of any gift can only be determined by and between the giver and the receiver.
A story please……..
On his sixth birthday he received his heart’s desire, a miniature carpenter set. The shiny little hand saw was dull, the hammer was tiny and light weight, but his eyes danced with complete delight as we presented this gift. As the days passed, my son kept himself continually busy enthusiastically sawing and hammering, most all of each day. The source of his building material was an old dismantled wooden crate.
A full week had passed when my little boy walked across the street and surprised me as he entered the church office. In his chubby little hands, he held a crudely constructed “contraption,” such as I had never seen before. I tried to receive this gift from my smiling child as graciously as he was giving it. Detecting surprise written in my face, he asked, “Daddy, don’t you like it?”
“Well,” I answered in an amused tone, “I ’d like it better if you’d tell me what it is, Son!”
Very excitedly, he replied, “Daddy, it’s a cross. You like it don’t you?”
The upright part of the cross was tilted, the horizontal was sagging and off-center, but yes, I honestly did see the resemblance. “Yes,” I said, “I like it very much. You’ve done a fine thing, Son.”
After I kissed his soft cheek, he turned around and skipped out of my office singing. As I carefully placed the cross on top of my desk, I quickly began to realize that “that thing,” that gift, he had presented to me actually symbolized a person’s actual service truly rendered to God. What my son gave me was crude and no doubt, puzzling to others, but it was beautiful and extremely valuable to me because it was constructed with love. Its poor craftsmanship equalled the innocence of the child. He knew little of the deep significance of the cross, and yet he knew it was something special to me. The only thing going for him was that his was a labor of love. Yet that alone qualified it as a perfect gift. I think that is how God looks upon our lives, our deeds, and our gifts.”
Love is an emotion. It is a very real and valuable thing for sure. Love is an action. It is something very special that God, Our Creator, placed inside each and every one of us at our own conception. Love grows and spreads as it is used and shared with and to other people. Are you still full of the love that God placed in your heart, or have you used most of it up and are looking to receive a refill?
Poet, Terry Tanksley, said it well in his poem:
TO SQUEEZE THY GLORY OUT
“In youth and in old age,
In pleasure and in strife,
Lord help me do Thy will,
Get glory from my life.
And if I, half-forgetful,
Put not Thy kingdom first,
And if for righteousness
I lose my deeper thirst;
Then Lord, in hot displeasure
Purge me from fear and doubt,
And crush me if it is needed
to squeeze Thy glory out.”
Love among men and women is strong and beneficial. It all begins with taking one’s eyes off of themselves and placing them squarely upon other people. Serving and assisting other people and helping them fulfill their needs, before tending to those of your own, is what the Lord God always recognizes and rewards. Love is best expressed through the helping and assisting other people to get what they truly do want before thinking about and serving our own personal wants and needs.
The old saying is so true:
“You can get anything in life you want,…IF,…you are willing to help enough other people get what they want,…first.
Peace and Love to All of You……………………..Poppa Bear