“Let these be your motives to action through life: the relief of the distressed, the detection of frauds, the defeat of oppression, and diffusion of happiness.”
– – Nathanael Greene
“A well adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous.” – – Alexander Hamilton
The prints I leave behind are washed in vibrant colors… or are they black and white? People either bring color into our lives or squeeze all color out. Which am I bringing? When I look back on this life, I hope to have brought at least a little bit of color into a few “somebody’s” lives but I honestly won’t ever know until I stare down on the many (or more probably the few) tossin’ dirt on my grave. My grandfather brought color not only into many lives but into this world. It may be cliche, but… he really did make this world a much better place.
I do his name no honor with the man that I am and perhaps, although I doubt it, maybe he arrived at the moment that I find myself in tonight: the opportunity to be blessed by seeing the kind of man I am (which maybe is good enough) or the man I could be; a man formed in the image of God and fully transformed by the love of Jesus Christ.
Being full of good brings only partial colors and shades of light into an otherwise dull and shaded world. Being full of God brings an array of vibrant colors and a glorious, shinning light which illuminates a dark and cold world. Some color is better then no color, I suppose, but why settle for a half painted picture when we could become a finished work Monet and Van Gogh might envy? I meet people every day and YOU know, just like I do, when someone unique and special and full of light stands before you. They instantly transform whatever room they enter, brightening everything they touch simply by their presence. They might be gifted but more often, they are ordinary people made extraordinary only by their love of Christ and that love seems to escape every last particle they’ve been formed with. Splashing haphazardly their vibrant colors through genuine smiles and compassion, completely unaware (or not caring) of who those colors touch. Fantastic! Beautiful! Amazingly extravagant in their display of Love as if they gave up long ago of straining to keep it hidden inside themselves. We can be that person, you know. I could be that man. It’s not beyond even my own DNA… my grandfather proved that. So why am I not? What dulls the color and darkens the canvas? Sadly, God showed me tonight just how narcissistic I am. Maybe not as much so as the fella down the street or some other pastor, but enough so to be only capable of occasional colorful moments. At worst, I’m a narcissist in deep denial. At best, I have strong narcissistic tendencies. I’m like the really cool, new crayon with the funky, hip name that everybody wants to be. But when you color a picture with it, well… it’s actually quite hideous. Turns out, plain old blue probably would’ve been much prettier then Shaka-Taka Cobalt Turquoise or whatever it’s called!
You’re either a narcissist, or you’re on good terms with one… and probably, both are true to some degree or another. The bad news is… you can’t make the narcissist less self-centered. Only God has the power to make us see ourselves for who – and what – we are. But the good news is… you can stop being one yourself. It’s quite liberating once you get the hang of it. Letting go of what you want and grabbing hold of those desires and wants of God is as easy as picking up a brush to paint for the first time. You just pick it up. Believe me, God is pleased to see you experimenting with the new brush strokes He is excited to teach you. And the world… well… no one expects much of us anyways. With expectations like that, what pressure is there to create a master piece?! A finger painted picture is more to God then anything Rembrandt could’ve created. God’s works have always been a bit vanguard, anyways!
I am unworthy and incapable of prolonged stretches of decency and righteousness yet there stands God, patiently awaiting for me to surrender and yield. I must yield so that I might add color that can only be found in Him. God has a one-of-a-kind color palette that will only be found with Him. When I begin to turn my eyes and focus onto everything that He IS and all that I am (and CAN be) through the colors of Grace and Forgiveness, the dull shades of this present suffering fade under the illuminating and vibrance of His most beautiful color He first broke out on the cross. Carry that red crayon with you and start every new moment with the splashes of bright red and every other part of our painting will speak for itself of God’s immense Glory and Grace. Our lives are but a footnote but even should our canvas of life be soiled by the sins of ourselves or others, pick up the brush… always pick up the brush again in the knowledge that God will restore you once more. He will always bring us more paint. I cannot be my grandfather. I can only begin today by painting the portrait God asks me to paint by bringing His full color into whatever part of this world He needs me to, through the colors He has given me through the vibrance of His merciful Grace. Being called into His Glory, regardless of whatever difficult path that I must take, should help me smile knowing full well that… He has already established my life to be poured out upon His canvas. Compared to that, well… I no longer seem to think about myself. At least, hopefully not as much. There are too many other “others” to share these incredible colors with! For what’s it worth…
Peace to you, today! SAG
Today’s Scripture: 1 Peter 5:9
9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.