Jesus doesn’t impose himself into our lives; he welcomes us with his brotherly sweetness and warmth. “What can I do for you today Mark?” My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
When I graduated from college over 40 years ago I entered into the full-time working world wet behind the ears. I worked for a publishing company with coworkers, many now gone, who had a lot to do with shaping my personal and professional career in the years since. Now, decades later and the company long gone, I occasionally reflect back on the faces of those with whom I worked closely back then. A number of personalities stand out, some magnetic and others not so much. There was a particular salesman with a very strong personality who had the habit of speaking boldly in near proximity to my face. He frequently violated the free space I claimed around me: my breathing space, a place where I could mumble and not be heard. He wasn’t obnoxious, just quickly in and out of my space and then gone. Then there was Charlie. His real name was Duane, but he preferred Charlie. Charlie never violated my free space. He didn’t speak to you unless you initiated it. Otherwise he was quiet, kindly considerate and always smiling. Charlie, although long gone, has always been on my top ten list of nicest people I’ve known. He was a beautiful person who lived out his life quietly. I liked that.
I remember both men after all of these many years. However, the one spurs no warmth of feeling, while the other makes me smile, longing for just one more visit, one more smile, one more kind word. Frankly, Charlie has always reminded me of how I envision Jesus: simply loving, listening and smiling. When I worked with Charlie I always brought something away with me that seemed good. I walked away feeling good with a smile on my face ready to share with someone else.
Here’s a thought from John W. McKelvey: “Some has said, ‘If you want your friends to remember you, borrow something from them.’ I want to turn this around and say, if you want to remember your friends, be sure to borrow something from them. Borrow faith, hope, and love. Borrow courage, humility, and integrity. Borrow their Christian examples of the unseen values of the soul. Borrow their confidence in the living God and their loyalty to the triumphant Christ. Then indeed your days will be filled with strength.” (John W. McKelvey, The Treasure Chest, P. 100.)
Charlie had a major influence on my life that continues until this day. When I’m fettered by impatience or overtaken with anger, an image of Charlie working away at his desk, unencumbered by the volume of work laid on him that morning, can go a long way in relieving my stress and anxiety. In that respect Charlie was cathartic, as he could becalm me by his calm and unstress me with his patience. Many has been the day these long years past when I’ve craved a Charlie visit to reclaim his friendly and quiet manner for the moment. Like the lilies of the field that don’t toil or weave, Charlie was beautiful without much effort on his part. He just was. He didn’t read manuals on it or attend workshops. Charlie, as we always said, was just Charlie. In this important respect Jesus is just Jesus. He doesn’t impose himself into our lives; he welcomes us with his brotherly sweetness and warmth. “What can I do for you today Mark?” That’s when he pulls me into his day. Look for friends in your life that are perfectly simple lilies like Charlie. They will grow on you in a way that draws you into Christ–the perfectly simple lily of God’s unbounded field of love.
We pray. Thank you Lord for providing us with a Savior who, although our King, is first and foremost our friend and brother. Forgive us Father when we surround ourselves with friends who don’t reflect Christ in their words, manners and lifestyle. Remind us that we need quiet time with our Savior every day; time that is personal, sweet and ours to hold for the day and share with others. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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