Saturday, March 15, 2008

Plus or Minus People

"…for they…added nothing to me." (Gal.2:6)

This evaluation Paul made of certain less than desirable men who had come into the church at Galatia, is one that could be said for a lot of other people. Like those "somewhats" in Paul's day they are "minus" people. Their lives add absolutely nothing to those around them. On the contrary, others are often poorer for having had communication with them. Not necessarily materially (although that may enter into it, at times); but, more importantly, to the extent that their influence is one of discouragement, provocation, or disillusionment, they steal from those they come in contact with those elements that would make them happy, victorious Christians. And, more often than not, they end up dividing believers, to continue the metaphor.

On the other hand, thank God, there are those who enrich people around them so much that they bring out hidden qualities in them which actually add to their walk with God. These priceless individuals are able to appreciate latent talents, virtues, or gifts some of us somehow never see in ourselves, and they are willing to take the time and effort to kindle a desire within us to develop them. I have been blessed in my life with such friends, acquaintances, family members (even authors) who challenged me by their own lives and/or their words to be the best that I can be. I am more now than I would ever have been, had I not had their input and influence. They were definite pluses in my life.

The challenge here is not so much to seek out and walk with (literally or mentally) those people who will add to us (though that is vitally important), but, rather, to be one of these "plus" people. This is the cry of my heart: May those who come under the sound of my voice or the influence of my life, for even the briefest of times, find themselves a little more capable than they thought they were, a little more content with the will of God, and a little more determined to please Him. I just want to be a plus person.


You entered my life in a casual way,
And saw at glance what I needed;
There were others who passed me or met me each day,
But never a one of them heeded.
Perhaps you were thinking of other folks more,
I know there were many such chances before,
But the others—well, they didn’t see it.

You said just the thing that I wished you would say,
And you made me believe that you meant it;
I held up my head in the old gallant way,
And resolved you should never repent it.
There are times when encouragement means such a lot,
And a word is enough to convey it;
There were others who could have, as easy as not—
But, just the same, they didn’t say it.

There may have been someone who could have done more
To help me along, though I doubt it;
What I needed was cheering, and always before
They had let me plod onward without it.
You helped to refashion the dream of my heart,
And made me turn eagerly to it;
There were others who might have (I question that part)—
But, after all, they didn’t do it!

— Grace Stricker Dawson

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