take the ‘if only’ approach to life: Each day holds
one of us is subject to changing moods. We have times when we
seriously wonder whether our being in the world makes any
significant difference at all.
wonder what we can do with the limited talent that is ours, and we
sometimes find ourselves saying "if only the situation were a
are questions we ponder:
only I had more money.
only I were not so old.
only I felt better and were stronger.
only I had married someone else.
only I had lesser drives or appetites.
only I were in another school.
only I had another job.
we are tempted to wish we were in more favorable circumstances so
that we might enjoy life more, it is wise to recall the wisdom of
Charles Spurgeon, one of England's great religious leaders. Spurgeon
said, "A fish in the sea might say, 'How I would display the
wisdom of God if I could sing or mount a tree like a bird.'
a dolphin in a tree would be a very grotesque affair, and there would
be no wisdom of God to admire a trout singing in the groves. But when
a fish cuts the wave with agile fin, its very bone is fitted for the
circumstance in which it finds itself. So God has matched our
souls to our circumstances. We are not in our present circumstances
are no hopeless situations. There are only those who have grown
hopeless about them. We must not let what we cannot do interfere with
what we can do.
are always things we can do to make life better and brighter for
others. "The best way to make glad the heart of the heavenly
father is to do something for some of his other children."
It may not be a project for which we had hoped or been trained. It
may seem commonplace and simple, but it can be very important.
can be smiling, caring for an invalid, looking after children,
keeping house and preparing meals, pounding a typewriter or computer,
driving children to their commitments, writing a letter or making a
phone call, teaching a class or doing an act of kindness for someone
in need. The
smallest good deed is better than the greatest good
read a story in a periodical by Joel Arthur Barker. It was about a
man taking a walk along the beach at sunrise. He caught sight of a
young man in the distance who seemed to be dancing along the waves.
As he got closer, he saw that the young man was picking up starfish
from the sand and tossing them gently back into the ocean.
are you doing?" asked the older man. "The sun is coming up,
and the tide is going out; if I don't throw them in the water,
they'll die," was the reply. "But young man, there are
miles and miles of beach here with starfish all along it. You can't
possibly make a difference."
young man bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it lovingly
back into the ocean, past the breaking waves. "It made a
difference to that one," he replied"
said, "The young man's actions
represent something special
to each of us. We are all gifted with the ability to make a
difference. Each of us can shape our own future. Each of us has the
power to help our organizations reach their goals."
without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just
passes the time. Vision with action can
change the world.
cumulative effect of little things done graciously can bring to pass
a beautiful life or some other work of artistry.
Macaulay, the British historian, told the story of the man who
had the contract or putting in the stained glass windows
for a great cathedral. He was amazed by the persistent request of his
apprentice for the privilege of designing and arranging the
glass for just one window.
didn't wish to destroy the young man's ambition, but he didn't want
to waste costly material on an experiment. So he said to him, "If
you furnish your own material, you may try your hand at that window
pointing to one that was not in an especially prominent spot."
his surprise, he found the young man gathering up little bits of
glass that he, himself, had cut off and thrown away. The apprentice
set to work with these and succeeded in working out a design of rare
the doors of the cathedral opened and the people came in to view
the work, they stood before the apprentice's window, admiring its
excellence. Their admiration was so great that the master artist
became exceedingly jealous.
story has a moral for us all. It
is possible to gather up little bits
of time, energy and opportunity that we often throw away and weave
them into a life so beautiful that others stand and marvel.
is not the big events alone that make us what we are, And not the
dizzy moments when we're swinging on a star. It's just the things
that happen as along the road we plod. The little things determine
what we’re really worth to God.