Devotional: July 23rd
The people recognized that Peter's ministry was a ministry of power. Wherever he went, the sick were healed. No wonder the crowd wanted to get into his shadow! He wielded a tremendous influence.
Everyone of us casts a shadow. Inevitably we influence the lives of those we contact. Herman Melville wrote: "We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results."
You are writing a gospel,/ a chapter each day,/ by the deeds that you do,/ by the words that you say./ Men read what you write,/ Whether faithless or true./ Say! What is the gospel/ according to you?
When asked which of the gospels was his favorite, one man answered, "The gospel according to my mother." And John Wesley once said, "I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians of England."
It is sobering to realize that someone looks at each one of us and thinks, "That's just what a Christian should be." It may be a son or daughter, a friend or neighbor, a teacher or student. You are his hero, his model, his ideal. He watches you more closely than you think. Your business life, your church life, your family life, your prayer life - all these set the pattern for him to imitate. He wants your shadow to overshadow him.
Generally we think that shadows are nothings. But the spiritual shadow we cast is something real. Therefore we must ask ourselves this question: When to the last great reckoning/ the lives I meet must go,/ Shall this wee, fleeting touch of mine/have added joy or woe?/ Shall He who looks their records o'er -/of name and time and place -/ Say "Here a blessed influence came"/ or "Here is evil's trace"? (Strickland Gillilan).
Robert G. Lee wrote: "You can no more prevent what you are, what you say, and what you do from affecting other people than you can prevent your body from casting a shadow in sunlight. What you are within you shows without, with no ambiguous expression. You exert an influence which mere language and strong persuasion are feeble to express."
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