“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
- Matthew 12:33-37
“Name the ten wealthiest men in the world. Name eight people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
How did you do? I didn’t do well either. With the exception of you trivia hounds, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday too well. Surprising how quickly we forget, isn’t it? And what I’ve mentioned above are no second-rate achievements. These are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten…
“Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one.
“Name ten people who have taught you something worthwhile.
“Name five friends who have helped you in a difficult time.
“Easier? It was for me, too. The lesson? The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones with the concern.”
- Max Lucado, Traveling Light
Okay, the wealthiest people on the planet does not interest me, but having seen the list recently, I named two. I think if I had given myself enough time, I could have mentioned eight Nobel Prize winners. I rattled off six and then froze.
Sadly, I could probably name ten Oscar winners and ten Emmy winners. Even if you don’t go to those movies or watch those television programs, you are constantly bombarded with their “greatness.”
But I disagree with Max Lucado about the other lists. I would have a hard time limiting the lists to only ten or five people. I really agree with him, in that it is easier to populate the list. Those folks are the ones you remember.
It was the day before I read this devotion by Max Lucado that a thought popped into my head regarding my Mount Rushmore of people who were great influences upon my life. It warms the heart, when God gives you something to write about before He makes it clear what the context will be.
- Without a doubt, and in spite of his faults, my Dad would be one of the four. My Dad influenced me in many ways, some good and a few not so good.
- I still have the feeling of fatherly love for a different man, my scoutmaster. He was a man who others would consider handicapped, having cerebral palsy, but few able-bodied men could keep up, in physical activity and in loving others. I would have never achieved the rank of Eagle scout without his encouraging.
- The third would have to be the head of the chemical engineering department at my alma mater. I attended the first freshman welcoming, thus the first gathering of students, in the four-story instruction hall named for him. In four years, I only had a couple of classes under him, but he had me in his office numerous times just to talk. I learned so much about ethics from the man that I could not count the lessons. Of course, a lot of the talks were about getting on the Dean’s List, honorary societies, outstanding achievement awards, and scholarships. I was his overachiever in my class year, wanting to do anything for the man.
- There are so many that I could list for the fourth, but I doubt if anyone would complain when I place my platoon sergeant in the fourth place of my Mount Rushmore. I was the lieutenant and he ‘worked for me’. Something that he let me know every time I slipped and called him ‘Sir,’ but we remained close friends until he passed away.
All four of these men are no longer with us and with each, there is an emptiness in my heart.
When it comes to the five who were there in hard times, that last list Max Lucado suggests, I have more than five who gave financial aid to my son recently. Those you remember. Those you thank and the words seem so ineffective. How can you show gratitude beyond words and a hug?
But that makes me think of One who transcends the Mount Rushmores of your life, regardless of category. God is One who has become my life. Words cannot express my gratitude. I could never repay the love He has shown me, other than to love and serve Him.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.