TIMELINESS IN DOING GOOD.
From: How to Live a Holy Life
To spend well this one brief life of ours, we must be active in doing
good. This we have already learned. But not only should we be active in
doing good, but we should do the good act when the act will be most
helpful. Do the good deed when the good deed needs to be done. The kind
word may be worth much and be greatly helpful to the fainting soul today,
but may be too late tomorrow. "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do
good unto all men." Will you stop a moment and think over these words? Let
no opportunity of doing good go by you unimproved. To neglect the present
opportunity of doing good and then never be able to do it is a sad thing.
"Of all sad words of tongue or pen
The saddest are these: 'It might have been.'"
Why do you keep all the kind thoughts and kind words for a man until he is
dead? They do him no good then. It is while he is living that he needs
them. He has burdens heavy to be borne; troubles gather thick over his
head; he is neglected and even misrepresented. You can help him with a
smile or a few kind words; but, no, you pass him by. Now he is brought to
the grave. As the cold clods fall upon his plain coffin, you say, "Well,
he was a good man, after all." Why did you not tell him that when he was
living? It would have buoyed up his spirit then; it would have made him
feel that life was not all in vain and that yet he might do a little good.
But now he hears not your words. They return to you or float out into
empty space a mere sound. The ear that was once eager for them and the
heart that was aching for them is now cold in death. Your kind, cheering
words are too late to give him encouragement; your flowers are too late to
be appreciated. Once they would have brightened his life, but now his life
is over. Once you could have chased away some clouds that were darkening
his life, but you did not, and that day has gone into eternity as a day of
darkness. You might have brightened it. This morning some kind hand placed
a vase of beautiful flowers upon my desk. As I write, their fragrance
reaches me and brings me tidings of some one's kind remembrance.
It costs but little to speak kind words, but oh! ofttimes they are worth
so much! I know of nothing that costs so little to give that is so
valuable to receive. But why keep all the flowers, the kind words, the
tender feelings and thoughts, and the sympathetic tears until the one to
whom they should be given passes away, and then come and let them fall so
gently upon the casket? Do you know of one who is weary? do you know of
one who is being misrepresented? do you know of one who is being trodden
down by others, with scarcely any one to speak a word of comfort? Now,
what would Jesus do? Look at poor Lazarus--turned away by the rich,
neglected and rejected; watched over by angels ready to gather him to
paradise when he passes beyond the need of aid from men. Why not be an
angel and make a day of paradise for him here? Let us do some angel-work
while here in life. The angels are ministering spirits. They whisper, "Be
of good cheer," "Peace on earth." They come to gladden hearts; they come
to close the lions' mouths; they come to open the prison doors and break
the iron bands. Oh, let us do some angel-work!
Hast thou any flowers for me?
Wilt thou kindly let them be
Given ere death be-dews my brow?
Wait not, give them to me now.
While in life's eventful day
Tried, and weary grows the way,
When in dark and lonely hour,
Give me then the cheering flow'r.
Hast thou kind words to impart,
Words that lift the fainting heart?
Speak ere Death's hand on me lay;
Speak those kind words now--today.
Kind words are but empty breath
To the heart that's still in death;
When life's load is hard to bear
Let me then the kind word hear.
Hast thou sunlit smiles to give,
Smiles that make us want to live?
Ere I cross death's sullen stream,
On me let those bright smiles beam.
Smiles, whate'er their power to save,
Can not penetrate the grave.
Ere I reach life's ending mile,
Give to me the sunlit smile.
Prayer can stay the trembling knee:
If thou hast but one for me,
Let it offered be today,
Ere the life-light fades away.
When my soul transcends the air,
I no more shall need thy prayer:
Let now, today, thy soul travail;
'Tis only now thy prayers avail.
"If I should die tonight,
My friends would call to mind with loving thought
Some kindly deed the icy hand had wrought,
Some gentle word the frozen lips had said,
Errands on which the willing feet had sped;
The memory of my selfishness and pride,
My hasty words, would all be put aside,
And so I should be loved and mourned tonight."
Next: THE WARFARE OF A CHRISTIAN LIFE.
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