HEROES OF INFLUENCE
LISTEN and/or READ
In May, in the year 1889 (10 years prior to the construction of our current sanctuary, and the year construction began on my Brown-Delaware house) one of my “heroes” passed away. His name is familiar enough that most American and British citizens would recognize it at once…and smile. But let me tell you a little about him, before I tell you his name.
As a Quaker, he was genuine, as a businessman, successful…and as a philanthropist, generous. As a Quaker, his beliefs didn’t allow him to enter a University or pursue a career in medicine or law…and a military career was obviously out of the question. He turned to business and philanthropy.
His love of animals moved him to form THE ANIMALS FRIEND SOCIETY, which then become the ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS; the fore-runner of the American branch of the same.
What most people know of this man has nothing to do with his service to animals. He is, like all of us, multifaceted. Which reminds me once again…
…everyone has a story. Everyone has influence far beyond their time in this place. None of us can predict what effect we will have on others we may never see.
And so we have a responsibility. Jesus reminds us that every little thing we do, every smile, frown…every word (bad, good, flippant or thoughtful) matters. The famous and rich are not any different than the unknown and poor in this way. Each of us has a circle of influence; friends, family, acquaintances, enemies…and they have circles, and so on, and so on. And GOD holds us responsible for the people He has placed around us.
This is the miraculous way the world was created to work: when we follow through with our responsibilities to each other, WE are happier. Jesus knows what He’s doing by connecting our love for each other with our love for Him and our own sense of well-being and joy.
ONE life influences MANY lives, AND we are on this earth for a short time. Those two facts alone should remind us to enjoy every moment, by loving each other and by knowing that EVERYTHING we do will influence others. We are happy when we understand our reason for living.
Being famous or well-known, or wealthy, seems to have no bearing on influence of quality. After all, when was the last time your life was altered simply by holding a new-born, visiting someone in their last days, or simply being there? You see, even in those times we have influence.
I’ll bet my “hero” DID have some inkling THE ANIMAL FRIEND SOCIETY would have far-reaching implications…but I doubt that he, also a proprietor of a small confection business in England, had any idea the emulsification process he developed to make solid chocolate (thus creating the modern chocolate bar) would make the name of John CADBURY, famous.
You see, we still cannot foresee what the future holds, or the choreography of the great dance that God sets in place; what we may think has influence on others may in fact pass quickly away. That random smile, kindness, or worse, that harsh word or decision based on bad judgement, may reach beyond our lifetimes.
So, with that next CADBURY EGG, or chocolate bar, remember that our joy, our happiness, our full life, is dependent upon the little things that connect us to each other. Every word out of our mouths, every action from our hearts, has the potential to last far beyond our passing…
…and has the power to change more lives than we could reach in our own lifetimes.
Jesus says it best, “let your light shine.”
Now I’m going to have another CADBURY EGG and pet the cats.