ALL OF US COULD LEAD A MORE MEANINGFUL LIFE if we devoted a few minutes
each day to pray, reflect, and ask ourselves vital questions, such as:
Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What steps am I taking to lead a worthwhile life and to fulfill the particular mission that God has assigned to me? Am I doing my part to right the wrongs of the world? Or are all my thoughts, prayers, words and deeds concerned with self?
Here are some stories to help you ponder the answers to those questions and apply divine purpose to your life.
Love is the Answer
An eminent baby specialist had a standard treatment for frail newborn infants who failed to gain weight. When he came to the baby’s chart during his rounds in the hospital, invariably he scrawled the following direction to the nurse in attendance:
“This baby is to be loved every three hours.” Doctors agree that newborn babies—and people of all ages—need love and affection. In fact, many bodily ills in young and old alike are the result of not being wanted or of being ignored by those from whom they have a right to expect reasonable attention. After all, each of us is an instrument of God’s love. And when we withhold that love from others, they suffer physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Love is a divine quality, a touch of heaven. All of us can apply it unendingly to every phase of life.
“By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” —John 13:35
You Can Count on God
A woman passenger on her first ocean voyage became frightened as the ship pitched and tossed in one of the worst storms of the season. Catching sight of the captain as he was hurrying back to the bridge, she dashed up to him and frantically implored, “Captain, what’s going to happen?”
Trying to reassure the nervous woman, the captain replied, “Don’t worry, Madam. After all, we are in the hands of God.” “Oh!” she gasped. “Is it as bad as that?” During your voyage through life, you will encounter storms that bewilder or terrify you. But no matter how hopeless and forbidding the outlook may seem, if you live up to your responsibilities to God, self, and others, you can retain an inner calm that no tempest can wreck. Take consolation in the fact that the Lord loves you so much that He will never abandon you in fair weather or foul.
“I fear no evil; for You are with me.” —Psalm 23:4
Include All, Exclude None
When a blizzard stalled a suburban train one winter’s night, the snow was so deep that some 150 commuters dared not leave the crippled train. The next morning, when the half-frozen passengers were able to emerge from their frigid trap, they were startled to see a signal tower only a stone’s throw from the stalled cars. They indignantly demanded an explanation of why the signal-station attendant had done nothing to make known their plight and summon help. The attendant callously responded, “It’s not in my territory.”
Rather than limit your concern for others to the narrowest possible confines, reach out to help as many people as you can. Include all, exclude none. Innumerable individuals feel forsaken in their physical, mental, and spiritual problems. They need you, and you need them.
“The Son of Man came to…save the lost.” - Luke 19:10
Patience Through Adversity
Three hundred years ago, a man condemned to the Tower of London carved these words on the stone wall of the prison: “It is not adversity that kills, but the impatience with which we bear adversity.”
Those words are as true today as they were then. We often bring needless distress into our lives by allowing ourselves to become the victims of our own impatience. Also, individuals who cannot endure life’s inevitable difficulties with a measure of acceptance may make life more miserable for themselves and everyone around them.
It takes time, understanding, and a healthy respect for the rights of others to practice self-restraint under trying circumstances. But it is a divine quality that you will never regret cultivating. By meeting every challenge with the gentle forbearance of the Savior, you can add to life a contagious note of joy that goes far beyond yourself.
Learn and Keep Learning
A famous astronomer was amused by the remark of a 15-year-old girl who sat next to him at a dinner. With youthful candor, she asked, “What do you do for a living?” “I study astronomy,” the scientist replied. “Really?” gasped the wide-eyed teenager. “I finished
astronomy last year!” People who are deeply in love with truth continue to explore and further their understanding of it all through life. Whether you are young or old, say with the great artist Michelangelo, “I am still learning.”
Also, see in every person and circumstance a valuable opportunity to grow in wisdom.
Get the Facts
When H.G. Wells noticed an unusually large stuffed bird in the drawing room of fellow writer
Henry James, he was perplexed and intrigued.
“My dear James,” he asked, “what is that?”
“That,” James informed him, “is a stork.”
“Humph,” Wells snorted, “it’s not my idea of a stork.”
James responded, “Apparently, however, it was God’s idea of one.”
It is a human tendency to assume that because we think something is right, it must therefore be correct. Reasoning based on sketchy information, rather than on complete facts, often leads to faulty and even dangerous conclusions. In everything you think, say, or do, make sure you get all the facts. Base your judgments on reality, not imagination.
No Effort is Wasted
If you had made 20,000 unsuccessful experiments without finding the answer to a scientific problem, would you keep trying? Thomas Edison did just that in seeking a substitute for lead in the manufacture of storage batteries. After hearing that the inventor had made this staggering number of unsuccessful attempts and was still struggling on, a reporter asked him, “Aren’t you discouraged by all this waste of effort?”
“Waste!” exclaimed Edison. “There is nothing wasted. I have discovered 20,000 things that
It is not easy to keep pursuing an objective, even heaven itself, when effort after effort seems to meet with failure. But by patiently plodding towards a worthwhile goal, we stretch and expand our hearts, minds, and souls. And in so doing, we often bring into play abilities that we little dreamed we possessed.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” - Luke 11:9
Do More Than Honk Your Horn
When his motor stalled at a busy intersection, the driver hurriedly got out and lifted the hood of his car to find the cause of the trouble. Meanwhile, an impatient motorist behind him began honking the horn without let-up. Finally, the driver of the stalled auto suspended his investigation, walked back to the second driver, and calmly said, “If you’ll fix my car, I’ll be glad to keep blowing your horn for you.”
God expects you to do more than sit at a safe distance from troubles, small or large, and merely “honk your horn.” It doesn’t take a thimbleful of brains to be a fault-finder, to constantly criticize or complain. In every troubled situation in which you are even remotely involved, try to do something constructive. Your slightest effort to right a wrong is far better than any amount of grumbling. After all, as the Christopher motto says, “It’s better to
light one candle than to curse the darkness.”
“Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” - Romans 12:21
Check on Yourself
A ship’s chief engineer got a reply he scarcely expected from a new fireman assigned to his crew. He saw the young man for the first time on a routine visit to the engine room and asked him, “How long have you been working down here?”
The young man answered, “Ever since I saw you coming down the ladder.”
Those who fulfill their responsibilities only when someone is checking up on them seldom make much of their lives. They shortchange others by failing to live up to their obligations, but they cheat themselves even more. Wherever you are, or whatever you do, you are always in the presence of God. And you are ultimately responsible to Him for all that you think, say, or do.
If you are constantly aware of this inspiring truth, you will find an increasing joy and satisfaction in life. And you will conscientiously perform your duties at home, on the job, and everywhere else, whether anyone is watching you or not.