Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Little Brown Church In The Vale"1 (Lyrics)
Sixty years ago, I was with a major accounting firm and was responsible for the auditing of a large Canadian retail chain. Spending several months each year at their main store, I had an office there and frequently rode in one of the elevators to my office.
In those days, each elevator had an operator with shiny, bright, white gloves. Ian was such an operator whose gloves were always bright and clean. This young boy was particularly enthusiastic and was a pleasure to watch as he performed his duties and announced the goods on each floor. The positive tone in his voice almost motivated you to get off and make a purchase — whether he said third floor men's sportswear or fifth floor ladies' lingerie. He represented management well.
Eventually, I learned that Ian had reconciled with his Saviour and was attending a downtown branch of our church. His mother ensured that his gloves were clean and white each day.
Psalm 51:7 – Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (ESV)
In 1967, Ian transferred to a suburban church where we attended. It had very active sports and music branches. Ian worked hard and was an excellent sportsman in both baseball and hockey. He was also a very good musician and became well-known as an outstanding musical instructor. As a teacher, he rose to be a vice-principal.
As I observed Ian progress through a happy marriage and raising two lovely children, I watched him grow as a positive young man. He seemed always to be helping others and doing so in a kind, loving way, just as Jesus did when He was on earth. This continued even as he developed a severe case of Parkinson's that eventually took his life.
As I considered the strong influence that the young man with the white gloves had on me and many others, I realized that, even though he had a difficult start (his father died when he was nine, and he was raised by a single mother), the life that he lived was a very practical example of Paul's teaching.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (ESV)
He followed Paul's admonition as stated in one of my favourite passages.
Philippians 2:12-13 – Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (ESV)
The challenge for me (and I suggest for you also) is to do everything possible in a positive way to help others.
Prayer: Dear God, thanks for Your willingness to allow us to be made as white as snow. Help us to share Your love regardless of our circumstances. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.