These two lines appeared in a periodical many years ago: “For the crust gets crustier and dull gets dustier, but sweet grows sweeter in the ripening time.”
An interviewer asked Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s mother how she had managed to raise her sons so well. She replied, “One of my boys asked me that same question, how in the world I had ever kept them all out of jail.” I said to him, “Didn’t you ever catch on? Don’t you remember that there was always plenty of work to do around the place, and you were all busy doing it?”
The Bible tells us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” I think Jesus meant, blessed are those who know they are in need, who understand the poverty of their own hearts. Open your hearts before God. There is no sin greater than that of refusing to grow spiritually. Cultivate a taste for the things that are divine.
Dorothy Thompson wrote this about the death of Wendell Wilkie: “He failed in the lesser. He succeeded in the greater. America will rediscover him. He could not be the leader of his party, but he became its conscience. He shook the heart. He threw a searching light on its work.”
When Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a beggar, blind Bartimaeus, who sat at the gate, hearing that Jesus was near, cried out: “Have mercy on me.” The disciples and others who heard his cry shook their heads saying, “Poor fellow, he has never had a chance. It’s a shame!” They went their way, but Jesus, hearing him, stood still and calling him, healed him. Jesus did something about this man’s distress.
Let us live so we can say with Timothy, “I have kept the faith. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course.” When our love of God is great enough, our faith is strong enough, our fears will find little room to live in our mind.
Always take the high road. It will bring you to joy and peace. It will give you strength and you will never regret giving your best and going the second mile. We haven’t done our best until we go the second mile.
I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care.
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
I would be a friend of all, the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving, and forget the gift;
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift.
Robert V. Ozment is a retired United Methodist minister.