‘All in the next words we say’

Published 9:51 am Thursday, February 7, 2019

I am given choices each day. How to spend it, how to invest my time, how to leave a mark in this world, to contribute to it and make it a better place. In classic Christian theology, this is not an effort to earn affection/approval, but rather to live in gratitude for the gift we have been given, and in harmony with The One who gives it.

I love the “old” Robin Williams movie, Dead Poets’ Society, where he played a teacher of English to a group of teenage boys. Carpe diem! He whispers to them. Seize the day, boys! Consider the wasted ways of so many hours, and all that may slip through our fingers. Take hold of the gift of this moment and do not despair. Relish, he told them, the sentiment of the late, great poet Walt Whitman, “You are here, that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”

What will you contribute this day? Be it a word or deed, however so small, or noticed by few if any … what stitch in the grand fabric will you add?

The ancient prophet Isaiah declared: “The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens — wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.” (Isa 50:4). The prophet knew of the weariness that can appear in this world. He knew of problems and frustrations, and even of his own failings. Yet, he also encountered fresh each day the opportunity to rise above all that would hold him back. He sensed his purpose to see others rise as well.

Comforting the weary with a word… that would not be a bad day’s work. Not at all. Indeed, the world would be a better place if more of us who launch words out there would take a few moments before they did so. What if, upon waking we tuned our ears to the task of listening to The One who gives us the day? What if, before we uttered anything, we listened as those who are taught?

You and I are given a gift in this world. It is life, it is this day, it is this moment. Let us use it well.

REV. MICHAEL P. KENDALL can be reached at mkendall@ farmvilleumc.org.